SKULL535

The skull:
Imagine: you’ve been buried alive. Your hands are bound behind your back, and your feet are also tied together. But, you refuse to just die! You’re gonna make it out of this living hell, you decide, and you enact the only escape plan available to you: you start chewing your way out. You gnaw through the splintery wooden coffin, then you start working on the dirt. Pretty soon, there’s no more room left in your coffin to spit it out, so you have to start swallowing it. Finally, finally, you break through the surface, ready to scream out for help, when you choke on that last subterranean mouthful and die. We’re talking O. Henry levels of irony here, or at least something Edgar Allen Poe might have scribbled on a napkin in a drunken stupor days before coming up with a much better take on the subject.

The music:
Days We Dread serves up the mix of mid-90s gothy death metal like Crematory and late 00s Dark Tranquillity that probably no one was asking for, and it does it with panache. Glum quarter-note downstroked riffs, nasal clean vocals, copious keyboards, and groovy downtuned chugs come together in this middling stew, and while nothing about Engraved is even remotely terrible, nothing is particularly interesting, either. The sound, playing, and pretty much everything else are top notch, but the songwriting is so boring, the source inspirations so uninspiring, that I struggle to imagine why anyone would have thought to make this, but I guess there must be people out there who just really pine for the days when you could load up on eyeliner, sing about how sad you are and how tragic your lovelife is, and still be playing death metal. If you’re that kind of person, then you definitely need this demo. It will complete you. I suppose if you like the last couple Mercenary albums, but wish they were a lot mopier, then this might also work for you. Otherwise, I think you can safely skip this one.
— Friar Johnsen

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