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Expunged – ‘Into Never Shall’

Hells Headbangers Records
Possessed, Celtic Frost
Release Date
July 30, 2021
Hells Headbangers Records
Death Metal

Canadian Death Metal warmongers, Expunged, released their first debut album, titled, ‘Into Never Shall’ on the legendary, Hells Headbangers Records. The outfit was formed in 2019, and since then has released three (3) demos, one (1) EP and two (2) splits. But how is the actual album? Well…let’s find out!

The production on this album expels an aura that is both reminiscent of Old School Death Metal yet imbued at the same time with a modern rendition on the past formula. What is meant by this is that Expunged retains the visceral output that is produced by the instrumentation, however these same variables become amplified which exaggerates the atmosphere that is fostered through the instrumental abilities. For Instance a track like ‘Torn Apart’ exudes a rather dense yet murky aesthetic to its sound which gives the listener an unsettling feeling, the mix brought forth here takes the raw-like notes and contorts it to a more sinister theme. But the question remains….is this a benefit towards the album? Absolutely, because the production can be viewed as the foundation for which the instrumentations can erect the structure for this album to be monumental, and the foundation gives the feeling as though it was built off the remnant decay of bones and fecal fluids. In other words, the imagery that is projected through the production coats the music in a pungent stench that fills the atmosphere with an air of rancor.

The instrumental prowess is one of the pillars that holds the weight of this album, as it discharges an unbridled onslaught of notes towards the listener, the guitars emits a crude yet harsh sounding tone in the picking and frenetic riff, where you can almost hear the reverb of the strings being scraped while they picked in an up-tempo fashion. If the sound of the chords being produced where to take shape, they would take the form of a blunt, serrated piece of metal pressed against the skin as it moves to and fro frantically, tearing into flesh, arteries while bones are being splintered and broken, each slash against the wound becomes more aggressive. So to do the guitars feel in the musical structure taken as it paints the album in notes of unprocessed vehemence. ‘Early Tragic End’ showcases this description, as the riffing employed on this track showcases different shades of rage, even with the slower more doom oriented riffs, which echo a demented feel to the air. The drumming here synchronously matches the intensity brought forth by the strings, as the negative emotion is expelled within every concrete pounding blast beat as well as the occasional grooves that are utilized. One of the highlights of the drumming is the primitive yet carnal tone that is exhaled from every beat as it only emphasizes upon the overall malevolent nature of the album. The drumming gives the imagery of a face being repeatedly battered into the earth as facial muscle collapses and flesh becomes torn, as teeth and blood fill up the air passage way and suffocation slowly sets in.

A divisive aspect about the album that may take a few listens to appreciate is the vocals (for some it may agree with you and that’s fantastic). The vox here are not your typical Death Metal register as the lungs that expel these toxic verses do so in a more bellowing, cave-man-like pattern, it’s may seem usual but it fits the overall visual theme the album is striving towards. A merit of the vocals is in the way the verses are delivered and intertwined with the musical instrumentation, the vox feels as though blood and stomach acid is being erupted while the words are being spewed from a frothing mouth, the track, ‘Amidst the Embers’ demonstrates this description.

Overall, this is a fine debut album that utilizes a decent yet really well done balance between an old school and modern mix where Death Metal is concerned, for any Death Metal fan this is definitely an album that is worth a listen especially for the guitars and drums. The vocals may be an acquired taste, but it’s not a glaring negative that reduces the quality of the album, it still works! That being said, to Expunged I wish you the best in your upcoming releases!

perfectly balances between old-school and modern death metal

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