Ahhhhh, deathcore. It’s one of the most despised genres of music out there, and despite the fact that there are plenty of mediocre bands of the genre, there are also plenty of gems. Dismissing the genre entirely would be a mistake, and that goes double for many of the bands who pioneered the genre. After all, metalcore pioneers 18 Visions’ earlier albums were one small step away from the genre, too.
In 1998, though, the genre didn’t really exist. Sure, death metal legends Suffocation (as well as bands like Pyrexia) played a huge part in pioneering the genre in the early 90’s, and nearly every deathcore band cites early Obituary material as influences, but one of the genre’s best-kept secrets is a little record by a band called Embodyment. Interestingly, they were an unapologetically Christian band, but that doesn’t take anything away from a sound they helped to pioneer in 1998 on their debut record. That record, Embrace The Eternal, is a must-listen if you haven’t heard it before.
Editor’s note: This article gives you an even better look at the history of the genre than we can right here, and is highly recommended for context.
Embrace The Eternal is an album built on the foundations of early 90’s death metal – the kind built by bands like Suffocation and Morbid Angel, as well as Mortification. Vocalist Kris McCaddon is simply primal behind the microphone, vocalizing in a way that will make you twinge a little – but in a good way. With a vocalist like him, it’s kind of amazing the band wasn’t more popular, as they certainly would be if they dropped this album today.
In fact, if you go to the 3:00 mark of “Embrace”, you’ll notice a little melodically dissonant guitar riff that many bands – including current favorites Knocked Loose – have made popular. It’s little elements like this, along with the mid-paced tempo of much of the record, that make Embrace The Eternal an album very far ahead of its time. To put it simply – few bands were playing a style like this, as Suicide Silence, Deadwater Drowning, and Whitechapel weren’t even close to existing yet.
Interestingly, the band would immediately go on to record 3 more full-lengths, and the one directly after Embrace The Eternal saw Embodyment pursue a more alternative metal/melodic hardcore sound. Those albums, especially The Narrow Scope Of Things, were honestly pretty great! However, Embrace The Eternal reigns supreme mainly because the album (along with other bands like Antagony and Deadwater Drowning) helped to pioneer the deathcore genre as a whole. Especially in the late 90’s, this music was highly ahead of its time, influencing bands like Suicide Silence and Despised Icon. The band splintered after their 4th full-length album, eventually regrouping into a new project in The Famine, but Embodyment’s place in history is secure. Don’t let this underrated and far ahead of its time gem escape your ears.