January started the year out with a lot of promise, with new releases from Indian, Alcest, and Periphery gaining quite a bit of attention around these parts. However, what floored us the most in the first four weeks of 2014 was the first-ever proper release from Chicago newcomers Warforged. Essence of the Land is an odyssey exploring death metal, black metal, and progressive metal influences that stunned a large number of the staff group. Opeth comes to mind with the band’s dynamic use of keyboards and acoustic guitars as cinematic gateways between stretches of technical riffing and powerfully melodic brutality, or perhaps Between the Buried and Me’s penchant for epic-length songwriting and weaving a larger picture over multiple tracks.
Essence Of The Land tells the twisted tale of a dread-inducing and brooding swamp and the unknown horrors that lie beneath its surface, making it one of those surprising death metal albums where the lyrics actually add a lot of atmosphere and weight to music. So much so, in fact, that the video accompaniment that provides visuals for ¾ of the EP contains the lyrics throughout, alongside footage of the band tearing through earth-shattering riffs.
At the heart of it, Warforged’s sound presents an assortment of progressive death metal influences that still manages to sound fresh and exciting, despite dredging the very bottom of the swampy sludge they strive to recreate. And honestly, what better way to start a new year than with a new band that are reinvigorating even one of the most well-trodden of sounds?
We spoke with the entirety of Warforged to not only get a look into the creation of one of 2014’s best releases, but to get a glimpse at what’s in store for the band’s future.