LARVAE     “Entitled To Death”

By Dr. Abner Mality

This Oakland, CA band presents us with a grimy and raw trudge through a landscape of corpses obscured by clouds of carrion birds. The cawing of crows and vultures is a constant motif on the album, which apparently is a concept  following a knight’s journey through a war-blasted land.

It’s unwashed death with a sizable proportion of doom. Nothing is really new from LARVAE, but the songs have a kind of simplicity that sneaks up on you with ugly riffs and a feel of relentless sadness. The music is simultaneously direct and yet more clever that it first appears. The title track is a good example of this, combining mournful dirge like early PARADISE LOST and MY DYING BRIDE with the cavernous ugliness of INCANTATION. Some cuts like “Obscure Unknown” are pure bulldozing death, while others such as “The Stars Spelled Death” are more on the epic side, with weepy lead guitar and a kind of dreary, dragging sound that captures the essence of the story being told. It is to LARVAE’s advantage that the songs also don’t overstay their welcome and pretty much seem to be just as long as they should be.

Let’s be honest….just too much doomy death metal is out there today for LARVAE to make a big impact. It’s an enjoyable release with a bit more thought to it than you might think and more authentic than more trendy DM bands that hog the publicity.