Among extreme music's most promising, still ascending purveyors, Atlanta death metal progressives Alluvial have showcased a resounding upward trajectory over the last few years. Truly coming into their own with the 2021 release of the acclaimed full length Sarcoma, the band's combination of precision, pummel, technicality and intensity emphasized everything beloved in heavy music.
Aside from the style points of piecing together polyrhythms and daring to rope in less than conventional death metal compositions in their brand of brutality, Alluvial showcased a sense of reverence for the genre - offering tribute to the greats that came before them, while having the creative audacity to make their own mark.
On the band's latest EP, Death Is But A Door, Alluvial offers a bridge of sorts, expanding on the songwriting showcase established with Sarcoma, while unveiling a harbinger of the heft yet to come. The product of a productive summer 2023 writing session that fruited more than a dozen songs, the release pooled a focused four song presentation in what is arguably the band's darkest work to date.
Stylistically sourcing everything from sludge to grunge, death to thrash, the band's ability to cover the entirety of the heavy music spectrum in such a succinct way anchors the EP. Masterfully showcasing their influences, the Atlanta quartet craft a consuming listen that not only underscores their continued refinement as songwriters, but emphasizes a kind of sophisticated horror that proves especially haunting.
Alluvial guitarist and songwriter Wes Hauch detailed the creative headspace that resulted in their latest EP and explained how the release sets the stage for what's still to come.
Hauch - The main riff for Bog Dweller is something that I had been messing around with not too long after we finished Sarcoma. I’m pretty sure it started from a dumb evening where I was trying to see how fast I could down pick. The second riff (verse riff) is basically Crowbar/New Orleans worship. The chorus of this song was originally the outro riff, but it turned out to be almost impossible to write vocal patterns over it. I ended up putting that riff at the end when we were demoing it. I made the tempo gradually go down because I knew it would make Kevin laugh and be real stoked about it. The visual side of this EP leans heavy into the whole MK ULTRA/LSD aesthetic mixed with the 70’s Mario Bava horror theme, but if you were looking at that in high definition. Bog Dweller to me was the first chance that I got to nail what those visuals would sound like.
Hauch - A lot of times I’ll come up with riffs or rhythms with my teeth. The main whammy riff was literally written on my teeth. It just happened. There wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into it. I had the main idea of it in my head, and it came out that way the first time. As far as the lyrics for Fogbelt, I had recently watched Infinity Pool. While the movie had some hokey moments, the whole idea of human cloning, weird designer drugs, and psychedelics tied into the MK ULTRA thing I was leaning into.
Hauch - Area Code was the final song written on the EP. Kevin was here in Atlanta on his birthday, and the fellas were all hanging at my house to celebrate. I thought it would be funny to write Kevin a really ignorant slammy song, but it quickly turned into a thing that made us wide-eyed and excited. Other than the Putrid Sunrise, this is the only song we have so far with drastic tempo changes. The solo is the first time I have ever used a Wah pedal on a recording. The Long Island slam outro riff was Kevin’s idea. The lyrics are about Kevin’s dysfunctional relationship with Long Island, where he’s lived his whole life. Kevin constantly complains about how much he hates living there, but like most New Yorkers, will incessantly remind you about how much better New York is than anywhere else in the world. I have a deep reverence for New York and New Yorkers, so I guess this song is for them.
"Death Is But A Door"
Hauch - I always explain that Alluvial is about 45% death metal, 30% traditional metal, 15% grunge, and 10% black n roll. This one definitely leans into the final 25% more than anything we have done so far. I was a huge fan of the Ghostbusters movies as a kid. The title of the song, as well as the EP came from a line in Ghostbusters 2. It was Dan Aykroyd’s line about Vigo the Carpathian. “And dig this, there was a prophecy. Just before his head died, his last words were ‘Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back.’” I thought that line was hard, so I made it the title. The idea I had for the music video was heavily inspired by the John List murders in the 70’s. Juan Carlos Escobar Salazar directed the incredible video for it and brought the idea to life with his own spin on it. If there’s a message, it’s that the best of us carry a dormant horror. The very worst of us still have a heart.
Death Is But A Door is now available via Nuclear Blast Records - HERE
Catch Alluvial on tour with Veil of Maya and Angelmaker next week. All dates can be found - HERE