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Deathchain were going to be the saviors of thrash. They had everything any thrash enthusiast wanted: speed, power, frantic vocals; the works. Their past two albums, more so with “Deathrash Assault”, were prime examples of how to thrash in this generation. Then they decided to get rid of their vocalist “Rotten” (who might’ve left on his own accord, but no one knows except the band) and replace him with what they proclaimed to be a better fit for the band, and a more experienced vocalist. So the rest of us waited, hoping that they’d still be able to keep the fire strong. Then, they released their video for the track “Pit of the Possessed” and it was in that moment that it all came together:
Deathchain were killing themselves.
Unlike “Deadmeat Disciples” and “Deathrash Assault” were thrash took the edge over death metal, “Cult of Death” puts a heavy emphasis on their death metal roots. Most of the frenzied, intense riffing is gone in place of a more grinding, heavier sound. It even seems like, from the production, that they wanted this to sound like a death metal album from the early 90’s, since the production seems a bit flatter and doesn’t pack that huge “thump” as with their past ones.
This album, for lack of a better word, is generic. K.J. Khaos, the new vocalist, is who appears to blame for this. His vocal work is absolutely boring, as he sounds just like every other extreme metal vocalist in the industry. On the opener “Deathammer”, he lets out a growl in the silence to open up the track, but all that does help the listener reach the conclusion that this going to be as dull as his voice. It’s true, since while the opening, pounding riff to “Deathammer” has the potential to cause head banging, Khaos’ vocals and repetitive riffs from Bobby and Corpse will have you hitting the “skip” track about halfway through. The sad thing is that it never gets any better.
Unlike on “Deathrash Assault”, where each song could be picked out from the rest, the tracks on “Cult of Death” are overly repetitive to the point that the genre of thrash itself should feel ashamed. While most have something slightly unique (like “Pit of the Possessed's" slower intro), once the main riffs kick in, it sounds like the song before that, and the song before that, etc., etc. Listening to “Cult of Death” is like shooting yourself in the foot, because after each track, you keep hoping for something better, only to hear the same, shitty sound again. Corpse and Bobby are unbearable on guitar this time around, since they hold off on soloing (though some tracks have them, but they aren’t even worth mentioning) in order to add a heavier atmosphere. It gets annoying, since they’ve proven themselves skilled before. Not only that, their riffs, such as on “In the Crypt of Vengeance” and the title track are as interesting as slamming your head in a door repeatedly. Mix that in with Kassara’s drumming, which is virtually the same beat for every damn song, and you’ve got a snooze-fest. Even the lyrics, which have Khaos spitting out lame lines like “The priest is lost, He got demonized!”, are (nearly) as dumb as the music.
Some say that time heals wounds, so let’s hope that this is the case for Deathchain. Maybe they’ll fix the relationship with Rotten and get him back, because it seems like all that Khaos has brought to the table is dull music. Until they come back with something new (and hopefully 10-times better), just go get “Deathrash Assault” and head bang till you get whiplash; it’s your safest bet.
Overall – 10%
I won’t recommend any tracks, since they all suck. But one of the riffs on “Deathammer” was cool so if you have to, try that.