Encrust From Birth To Soil

Relative newcomers to the Chicago metal scene, Encrust have a slightly unusual reputation preceding them: guitarist Luke Tobias is the executive chef at Kuma's Corner, the metal-themed restaurant known for their extraordinary burgers named after metal bands. And yet, Encrust don't just have flame broiled meat on their side, they also have some wickedly heavy, misery-soaked sludge. Previously known as Hunters, Encrust's debut full-length, From Birth To Soil, isn't typical stoner fair. The riff structures are fat and muscular, sounding like they've been flayed open and scabbed over, but are delivered at an up-tempo, thrashy pace that keeps the record from feeling bogged down. The mood is a study in contradictions: "Tapeworms," for example, sounds at once raw and agonized in tone, but the delivery is so aggressive that it's almost cheery. Somehow, this filthy, blood-soaked defiance works perfectly. At eight songs and 35 minutes, From Birth to Soil is a lean album in fighting shape. It plays like a big, thick sludge record that decided to cut a whole bunch of weight to move down to a lower weight class, showing up to the match with a ton of added speed and agility while sacrificing none of its innate, one-punch knockout power. (Density)