Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Friday 27 May 2022

Reviews: Decapitated, Desert Near The End, IATT, Electrified (Reviews By Zach Scott & Matt Bladen)

Decapitated – Cancer Culture (Nuclear Blast Records) [Zach Scott]

Being one of the most prolific and well-respected groups in the realm of death metal, Decapitated is a band that needs no introduction. Since 2000, and with a short hiatus between 2007 and 2009, the band has been consistently putting out death metal albums of a very high standard, and their latest release Cancer Culture is no different. As always, guitarist Vogg is performing to an exceptional standard here, with some absolutely crushing riffs such as the opening of the title track, as well as plenty of the technicality he became known for, such as in Just A Cigarette. There is also plenty of influence taken from outside of standard death metal, with some groove metal flavours in Last Supper, deathcore and black metal in Just A Cigarette, and even hardcore in the short and frenetic Locked

It is of no surprise that Vogg is delivering high quality guitar work, and the rhythm section of Pawel Pasek on bass and James Stewart behind the kit support the riffs with a massive rhythmic base. There could’ve been more focus on the rhythm section in terms of having more interesting parts to emphasise their roots in technical death metal, but they still perform their role well. Speaking of which, it is hard to compare an album like this to others in the Polish death metallers’ discography, especially the earlier albums like Winds Of Creation and Nihility, which oozed of technicality and speed. It is much more comparable to Decapitated’s offerings since 2006’s Organic Hallucinosis, which is where the band started to slow down and introduce more groove-oriented elements to the sound. 

For this reason, this album lacks much of the relentless aggression and machine-gun blast beats for which they originally became so infamous, but this doesn’t completely detract from the album. There are still moments of ferocity, such as the intro of No Cure as well as the classic heavy Decapitated chugging riff found in the midsection of Suicidal Space Programme. Rasta’s vocals here are excellent as always, if not lacking a bit of range. All in all, this is an excellent offering from Decapitated, and stands well amongst their late career post-2009 output, but fails to provide much of a challenge to the pre-2006 era being the band’s strongest, though this might be too much to ask of a band who have been together for nearly 30 years. 8/10

Desert Near The End – The Dawning Of The Son (Boersma Records) [Matt Bladen]

Have you ever thought that Iced Earth lost their edge after The Dark Saga? (well until Jan 6th 2021, where the edge lord was very strong) Or that Matt Barlow needed to front Kreator? Well wonder know more as Desert Near The End roll in like an artillery division on their fifth album The Dawning Of The Son. Based upon “The Red Rising Saga” a dystopian sci-fi series of novels by Pierce Brown, the album is lyrically based on the first trilogy of books and puts the dystopian futurescapes against the heaviest power metal this side of Biomechanical (if you remember them). 

Often shifting into thrash/death style riffages the bludgeoning drumming is relentless much like the galloping bass of Akis Prasinikas, his low end grind laying caterpillar tracks down on freshly scorched earth, the riffs of Panos Kalompratsos craving through flesh and bone with distorted violence on Break The Chains especially, but equally changing into soaring melodies that hark to bands such as Priest and Maiden. It’s all very early Iced Earth, vocalist Alexandros Papandreou snarling, wailing and crooning like Mr Matt Barlow, with that aggression of the Burnt Offerings/The Dark Saga years, Iron Rain, feels like the IE track The Hunter. Vocally he has the range to fuse well with these technical songs. On Wound In My Way, Alexandros changes his voice into a bit of Hansi Kursch, doing the same on Obsidian Angel

Using the same studio as their previous record, The Dawning Of The Son sounds huge! Rise For Dominion especially is more in line with fellow Greeks Septicflesh moving from chanting to blasting extreme metal and those clean voice croons. It doesn't hang around each track hitting you like a concussion grenade, the heavy metal augmented with strings. As you move through the record the final four offerings get a bit longer and more progressive, time shifts throughout but it's still full force heavy metal from the opening to closing chord. It's only natural that I like Desert Near The End as both Matt Barlow and Hansi Kursch are two of my favourite singers of all time and musically the traits of Iced Earth, Blind Guardian, Nevermore etc are again high on my love list. Having been following the band since their second album, this fifth release is their heaviest and most destructive yet! 9/10 

IATT – Magnum Opus (Black Lion Records) [Zach Scott] 

The arcane is always an excellent well of inspiration for extreme and progressive metal, and this is what Philadelphia’s IATT drew from for their latest release, a concept album named Magnum Opus. The band is no stranger to intricately conceptual lyricism and music, and this album shows a development on that front. Much of the guitar work draws significant influence from modern atmospheric black metal such as Harakiri From The Sky with the use of open strings, tremolo picking, and arpeggiated riffs. 

An interesting influence is that of music outside of metal, with a saxophone present in several songs, such as the solo in Ouroboros (reminiscent of Rivers Of Nihil’s use of the same instrument) and pad synths in Prima Materia. Despite these unusual influences, some of the more straight black metal songs such as Elixir Of Immortality suffer from a common pitfall in that sections drag on and don’t have much to separate them in terms of sound. The more relaxed passages, such as the introduction of Exculpate, Exonerate do, however, provide a nice dynamic with the more standard black metal parts. There are even some Spanish-influenced parts, such as the interesting drum part in the midsection of the album’s closer Chrysopoeia. Some ideas could’ve been expanded on to greater create a variety of sound, such as the breakdown-esque parts of Planes Of Existence; this could’ve helped to counter the way many sections blend into one another without much to break them apart. 

Overall, the album is solid, with good songwriting and instrumental performances from all members; again, the more interesting sections (particularly the saxophone parts which are incorporated well into the songs) do provide variety, but this is ultimately detracted from by the largely generic black metal passages that frequent this album. Despite this, this is still a good offering by IATT and provides a great foundation for further honing of their sound, which there is no doubt they will do with future releases.7/10

Electrified – My World On Fire (Valve Studio Records) [Matt Bladen]

Essentially a Greek band with a German singer Electrified are a band that play a radio friendly style of melodic rock, coming from bands such as Ratt, Journey, Dokken and even Autograph, especially in the solos. Started by Constantine Markou (guitar) and Anthimos Manti (guitar/keys), what were demos during the Covid lockdown became fully fledged songs with heavy reliance on keys and fretboard melting guitar solos. In all of their PR Electrified mention the word radio, a lot, the songs are melodic ‘radio’, the keys are ‘radio’ but that is very much what you get here. 

Spiro Martinovits (bass) and drummer Chris Siafakas, play pretty simple rhythms but enough to get the feet tapping along as Felipe Del Valle gives some hooky choruses with his rough and ready vocals. My World On Fire is a decent enough melodic rock record but it’s not as incendiary as it should be, only the guitar solos being really impressive. Not bad by any means just a little too similar to a myriad of other bands. 6/10

No comments:

Post a Comment