Undoubtedly many of you’ve already heard this fine disc. I expected to like it when I heard it but I wasn’t prepared for the level of skill and professionalism I found. Deuteronomium, in my opinion, is a band that is a serious Metal contender and I think it is a shame they are only compared to Christian bands. When you only listen to Christian Metal you only have a small pool of knowledge with which to work. Therefore, Deuteronomium get compared to Mortification and Tourniquet. This is unfortunate. Deuteronomium is a classy Scandinavian style band. And like Manu said in the interview last issue, they jump around with their styles. However, it should be noted that there is a strong sense of uniformity with this EP. It doesn’t sound confused at all. The first song “Crosshope”, for instance, bears a strong resemblance to recent Entombed. Even the clarity of the production, the vocals, the drums--everything contends for the serious metallers attention. Other images that come to mind with the other songs are Schaliach, Extol on the Christian side, and Amorphis on the secular side. All in all, though, the comparisons are only comparisons, this band is really good and I believe they’ll be quite successful.
If any band in Scandinavia has the potential to imitate Mortification’s self-reliance it is Deuteronomium. Now they return with their first full-length release on their own label. No one can do this unless they have a lot of money or a lot of talent. With these guys it is talent.
Undoubtedly many will call this black metal, but I’m going to stick to my guns and call it Modern Classic Metal. I do believe, though, that it has black metal elements both vocally and musically as well as thrash. This is especially noticeable on the song “Spell of Hell” which you could fool someone into thinking is a track off of Emperor’s Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk (another incredible album). The two songs which make a major exception to this would be the songs, “Druglord” and the tag to “Human Nature”. The tag to “Human Nature” bleeds into a sort of jazzy/trip-hop/reggae thing. Funny as that sounds, it isn’t bad and adds a little humor to the disc while showing the band’s broad musical palette. The song “Druglord” sounds more hardcore to me, but the music fits the message. The rest of the songs, in my opinion, are a blasting barrage of some cool, raw classic metal playing. They are really energetic and I find myself wanting to slam myself into the walls. Once again, this music reminds of recent Entombed (just for comparison sake). Another thing about the music. I really like the leads on this album. I’m not sure who does what but the solos really go beyond fitting a scale into a mode. They have that extemporaneous feel that you get from an old Black Sabbath album. It seems there is more emotion than intellect that goes into their playing.
Lyrically this album covers everything from worldly sins to praise for God, i.e., “Northern Praise”. It is a well-rounded album and due for success.
Those of you who liked the songs “Crosshope” and “Black Raven” will dig Here To Stay a lot. Musically, Street Corner Queen had something for everybody—Death, Classic, Black metal. I loved Street Corner Queen for its diversity but can see why these guys have narrowed their focus to the style found here. Whereas SCQ showed Deuteronomium’s ability to play a variety of styles, and allowed them to extend their reach beyond Tribal Eagle and Crosshope, Here To Stay shows us a very confident, seasoned band that have settled into a groove—literally! Hook and riff is a good way to describe this album. It is groove-laden from start to finish. Each song from “Whirlwind” to “Dead End” has a raw, heavy rock and roll feel to it which leaves no time anywhere for you to take a breath. They call it “death and roll”. Quite appropriate, I’d say. One is reminded of Motorhead and recent Entombed.
I suspect some people will complain that Deuteronomium have left off playing Black Metal or songs in the “Northern Praise” vein. Even the artwork and photos on the CD portray a new image for these guys. I sincerely enjoy all the previous works by this band but feel that Here to Stay really plays to their strengths. The music is tight and the sound it thick. The lyrics are direct and glorify God as always. What more can one say? This is, in my opinion, the definitive Deuteronomium album.
This CDEP contains two version of the song, “To Die And Gain”. The opening version is the same as the album and the second version is a demo version of the song. In between these two tracks is another song that doesn’t appear anywhere else called, “Misleader”. It is musically consistent with the title song and is quite enjoyable. This CDEP is only $2 and will be a rare collectible.
Immortal Souls “Divine Winter”
If there is a Norwegian sound then there is definitely a Finnish sound as well. Though Finnish bands vary in style there is a somewhat definable set of characteristics that seem to fit a lot of them. For one thing, they seem to focus more on classic metal guitar styles and song structures than their Norwegian brothers. They tend to be more melodic as well. I think this is an appropriate way to describe the sound of Immortal Souls. These four songs, “Snow Soul”, “Divine Wintertime”, “Morning Mist”, and “Christ Mass” have the characteristics described above. Fans of earlier Amorphis and Sentenced alike will find themselves liking these tunes, though they have growling vocals like those of Carcass (England). I also think that Immortal Souls would be a great opening act for Deuteronomium as they share a similar musical style. Production is crisp and one can assume that much time was put into the recording and production.
Mordecai “Through the Woods, Towards the Dawn”
In contrast to Immortal Souls, Mordecai have a true Black Metal sound. When I first heard these tracks I had to remind myself that I was listening to a Christian band and not Emperor or Old Man’s Child. It seems obvious to me from the song titles and the cover art that Mordecai intend to be associated with the aforementioned bands. The cover looks much like the same style of painting as Emperor’s “In The Nightside Eclipse”. The sound is much like Old Man’s Child from the “Pagan Prosperity” album and somewhat like Emperor, though less chaotic and more controlled. These four tracks (“Infinity of Creation”, “Exhortation”, “Dawn Eternal” and “The Last Winter”) will leave you speechless. Oh, yes; the nearest Christian metal comparison would be Antestor. Once again, note the crisp production.
Manu and company have got to be pleased with the results of this disc. If these two bands were not singing for Christ they’d be on Century Media or some similar label.
Though I enjoyed Lament’s first album, Tears of a Leper, I felt like the grind vocals and the melodic metal were a little mismatched. It was a fine album but this new one, Through the Reflection, surpasses it in every way. What can I say? Lament have not only outdone themselves this time, but they have created a very powerful blend of heavy metal. Through the Reflection reminds me very much of Ethereal Scourge’s Judgement and Restoration. This is especially true in the vocal department. Abel Gomez has traded the grind growl for a more gutteral screech. I think he sounds just like the vocalist from Ethereal Scourge on this album. Another comparison might be Max Cavelera’s vocals (formerly of Sepultura, now Soulfly). So the vocals are very, very listenable. Musically I think Lament has also done quite well. They had a good musical formula on Tears but here they have mastered their sound. The ease with which guitarist Edmundo Mondragon goes from acoustic to electric is stunning. Also, there are many really cool spots on the CD where distorted electric guitar and clean acoustic are played together and it sounds wonderful. Also great is the sound of the bass guitar which benefits from a crystal clear mix. And, of course, Abel does a really fine job on drums. As I said, the production is flawless and makes this CD a very enjoyable listen. Aside from listening, also notice the great lyrics and poetic song titles: “A Dream at Sunset”, “The Wind of my Heart” and so on. This is a great CD!
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