For a franchise that is so well known for its musical content Star Wars has an alarmingly small repertoire of original music made in tribute to it. Now obviously some styles are more fitting than others. For example I doubt easy listening tribute to Tatooine’s finest would go down overly well but a death metal album in a series that features so much war and death seems pretty fitting.
Kyr’Am Beskar (which is Mandalorian for “Death Metal”) is the latest release by ECRYPTUS in a series dedicated to recounting the dominance of the dark side over the rebel scum.
The EP starts with Cauterized Saber Wound Massacre which brings not just the riffs, but the gutturals and the blast beats too. It’s interesting that despite the samples and the lyrical content it doesn’t feel very Star Wars. There’s no sense of heroism or fantastical wonder here. I suppose in a way that’s because we know that the dark side are the bad guys and we don’t tend to see their side of the story. In terms of the music though, I feel this would go down well in pretty much any speeder cantina you could choose. It’s exceptionally well done, the band clearly know how to add just enough variation into the music to keep it interesting while balancing it with a very defined unique death metal feeling.
Planetary Enslavement is possibly my favourite song on this release. It shows a degree of technicality and proficiency that is a little too uncommon. It’s exceptionally precise in its musicianship and understands that just because you go fast doesn’t make you good. This however is both fast and excellent.
Compulsion to Disintegrate reiterates the point that the ability to play fast does not make you good. Like it’s forebear it shows that a great amount of care went into this release and whilst I don’t enjoy it quite as much it has some excellent moments. This song is most heavily based on the series the Mandalorian and so, obviously, devolves into a breakdown where the words “This is the way” are repeated over some of the galaxy’s finest chugs. Which is both entertaining in it’s own right and re-centres the focus back to the Star Wars canon.
We finish on the rather fittingly named Digested Over a Thousand Years, which would tend to put a stop to most things. I feel this is where the release falls its shortest and that’s not really the fault of the band. It’s difficult when trying to review something as subjective as music to not bring your predispositions and expectations along with you. When I hear “over a thousand years” it forces my brain into thinking “Oh, yeah, so slow and churning” and whilst this track fulfils the latter the nature of the genre causes it to be anything but slow. And I’m making this point because it’s really the only criticism I can make of this song. It’s not the best thing here but it’s still pretty good.
It’s a solid EP, and I expect that fan’s of The Force will enjoy it more than most but that certainly isn’t a prerequisite to enjoying it. But honestly, I find the lack of more tracks disturbing.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Kyr’am Beskar is out now.
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