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It is hard to talk about this band without mentionning the Metallica-like fate these guys suffered. Difference is, one brother in heaven and a very good friend in a coma later, there is only one original member left. Vogg (on guitars) had the huge task of reviving this once glorious brutal death metal act. So I had previously heard "Homo Sum" before picking up the album and I must say I was not hooked at the first listen.
On to the music, The Knife is what you would expect from an opener. Exploding and brutal guitar riffs, pretty straight-forward but bashing drums with agressive vocals that remind me of Phil Anselmo. On United, the drummer does a pretty good job to remind me of Vitek's crazy, over the top stomping. There's also a small interlude with a rather dark melody. The guitars are mid-tempo on this one but they still have the same edge they had on The Knife
Carnival is Forever begins with a dark intro on bass. Then, a mid-tempo butt-kicking guitar riff kicks in with the band's signature double bass drum in the back. The dark section from the beginning is also played halfway. Another guitar riff kicks in only to be blown away by crazy screams.
Homo Sum starts off with a thrashy guitar riff. Much like the ones Slayer are giving us in their later albums. Difference is this one is well done with a good clean heavy distortion. The formula on this one is pretty straight-forward. They use a sorrowful melody that fits really well with the song's vibe. This song is definitly a grower. 404 also features a heavy rhythm guitar section with other dazzling guitars. This one reminds me of old Decapitated during a few sections.
A view from a Hole kicks off with a fast clean guitar intro mixed with spot-on drums. A little doom-ish part and then, BOOM! The guys explode into a fast and brutal frenzy. Definitly the fastest song on this album. Pest is also a very fast and brutal song feating a deafening and very long scream midway through the song.
To close off the album, we get a surprise. Decapitated doing an accoustic/clean instrumental? Never heard of that before but it's still very good. It's done in a way you can't help but feel all the suffering Vogg must've endured. All the sorrow, the tears and emotions are present. When all is said and done, all that remains is Silence.
If you are expecting to hear brutal death metal like it was Winds of Creation again, you will be disappointed. In all honesty, Witek will truly be missed on future records. The new drummer does a good job but I've never heard a drummer like Witek. He was able to play fast, brutal and technical drums while having a groovy feel. He was unique. The new bassist does the job without shining and I'm very surprised by the new singer. They've switched from growlers to a screamer and he fits very well the new style of music. What I feel when I listen to this record is all the anger, the fury, the blood, the tears that Vogg wanted to express after suffering the loss of two bandmates. To me, this is no Death Metal. This is Crushing Metal.
To Vogg : two thumbs up! Cheers and keep the faith!