Cerekloth are another "old school" death metal band signed to the now ubiquitous (in the scene, at least) Hell's Headbangers Records. Their debut EP Pandemonium Prayers was wholly predictable old school revival with a thrashy tinge. Not bad, but nothing extraordinary. Continuing on that path would've doomed Cerekloth to forgettable mediocrity.
Luckily that isn't the case. Cerekloth have evolved. Still tapping into the nearly-dry veins of the old school, In The Midst Of Life We Are Death may surprise you. Instead of relying on the tried and true conventions of the revival scene, Cerekloth mix it up with some very well-written and varied material. Songs have dynamic that I personally wouldn't associate with the revival scene, and instead of adhering to the formula Cerekloth let their music guide itself.
The musicianship on In The Midst Of Life We Are Death is top-notch, and while not comparable to say a technical or progressive band, these guys wield their hellish weapons just as effectively. Interesting arpeggiated chords, sustained leads, and a varied vocal performance by both main frontman JBP and back-up Martin Leth Andersen are the main daemonic culprits. There's a nice bounce to the bass too, and some of the more low-end driven tracks ("Within The Hollow Crown," and "When Outcast Become Kings") are the most entertaining. It's a breath of fresh air coming from an unlikely suspect.
In The Midst Of Life We Are Death is undoubtedly packed with solid material, but this still leaves the question as to the production and mixing. To answer that question in brief: both are perfectly fine. Guitars have some nice gain, leads and the larger intervals in the chords are accentuated perfectly. The production might come off as a bit clean to those who expected a more down-and-dirty HHR release, or even something similar to the debut EP. However I found it to be appropriate and not annoying in the slightest.
In The Midst Of Life We Are Death is one of the must hear "old school" death metal albums of the year. If you haven't listened to it yet, you should.
8.5 out of 10
1. Praeludium + Born of the Void
2. Within the Hollow Crown
3. Halo of Syringes
4. Nest of Disease
5. Mesmerizing Holy Death
6. When Outcast Become Kings
7. The Reapers Instant Is Our Eternity