When Manchester’s My Wooden Pillow ironically splintered last year, 3/4’s of the group formed Impavidus, a melodic death metal groove machine more than capable of taking the MWP sound into new territories. The chest-crushing riffs, pulverising grooves and aggression amped up to 11 are still evident – although they’re now identifiably less Bolt Thrower and more Carcass/Arch Enemy in design – and the band appear hell-bent on welcoming old and new fans alike into the fold.
“Scourge” is utterly ferocious while “Exculpate” is experimental in essence, with a hypnotic cyclical riff accompanying Michelle Adamson’s eerily riveting clean vocals which bleed effortlessly into a more familiar death metal bludgeoning.
In fact, herein lies Impavidus’ skill.
They have the nerve to partner the heaviest riffing with Adamson’s varying clean vocal styles, as perfectly envisaged on the schizophrenic “Black Mirror”. Of course, they’re at their most effective when going the whole melodic death metal hog but those moments of Jeff Walker-esque delivery are so effective because of the dulcetly harmonious vocals that often surround them.
Impavidus – latin for fearless – live up to their namesake with an EP that ploughs its own confident path. “Don’t listen to them, listen to me” growls Michelle Adamson on blistering opener “Heaven’s Gate”. No fear there, we’re all ears! 8/10