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Pure greatness! I am sticking to Blasphemy. - 23%

cinedracusio, October 8th, 2009

Oh, why do some people/demons have to vomit a full-length in order to prove that they can be less idiosyncratic, less chaotic, less loud and more boring than on the previous MCD? Here we have the brand new experience offered by Diocletian: more control, more screaming and... screaming provided by the sect colleagues, less colourful drumming, more boring guitar tone.

The compositions are awesomely unidimensional, and while the guitarist is quite competent at his thing, he made me realize a thing. That sometimes metal, and especially black metal, borrows heavily from the silliest sources around. This album, for example, might be a great Flash Gordon revival moment. Just take a song that is associated with a diabolic cartoon character and play it downtuned and distorted, it will succeed. It just gives the feeling that you have heard this before, and it sounds way too intendedly diabolic not to sound like an actor trying to give his best possible impersonation of Emperor Wang. Many black metal songs strive to emulate cartoonish melodic themes, some do it more obviously, some manage to hide it. And to a certain extent (though this is not the best statement in a specific review for a specific album, some people should have realized it a long time ago), this kind of music gets unnervingly pretentious. Even its primitivism relies more on a movie-like hairy creature impression than on aberrations that defy the very essence of humanity, Christendom etc. etc.

The drumming got me stupefied, and left me in a puddle of spleen. This does not stand a chance compared to the greatness on their self-titled MCD, simply because it flows very monotonously, and even the change of the beat flows so naturally that it does not affect the music in any good way. Unlike their first MCD, where the guy could pull dramatic moments seemingly out of nowhere. The vocals have not improved by any means, the vocalists stayed true to the war metal Growl-meet-Shriek formula.

At a global level, the simple comparison drawn between THIS and Blasphemy gets thousand laffz out of my bowels. How the hell could someone compare that unique brand of hallucinated tempo shifts present at Blasphemy with this dragging blastbeat extravaganza? Blasphemy do organized chaos with style. Diocletian do organized chaos with a desolating linear aesthetic.

If you are a war metal freak, you will be probably hunting this down anyway, but those who are not necessarily genre magnets be forewarned. Get some Blasphemy before any other war metal act.

P.S.
1) That ”great” ascending feedback sequence in the beginning of the album sounds horrifyingly close to the opening riff on a track called Sarah from a band named The Caspar Brotzmann Massaker.
2) If you are really interested in chaos, and I do not mean Merzbow, be sure to check out the Mass Hysterism album by Masayuki Takayanagi. That guy owned.

The Doom Cult has conquered. - 91%

orphy, September 24th, 2009

After a demo, pair of EPs and a split, New Zealand's Diocletian has finally released their first full length album. Their previous material is of quality, displaying a brutal blend of war metal like Revenge and Blasphemy, and death metal like Bolt Thrower. "Doom Cult" is simply a continuation of their current path, with some of their strongest songs to date, as well as their most crushing recording.

The title track starts off the album, which originally was a track on their first demo. It sets the mood right away - bass heavy production, barbaric yet coherent riffs - total balls out metal. The vocals are strong, and it's cool that there are different vocalists involved. Both guitarists plus their live bassist contribute vocals, for a variety of low end vomits and some high end shrieks for added torture.

There are tons of really wicked riffs here. From fast tremolo picking ("Oath To Ruin"), to crushing Revenge-esque breakdowns ("The Iron Fist), to total punk parts ("Bullet Vomited"), Diocletian keeps things interesting and never gets boring. At 33 minutes in length, this thing will definitely rip you a new asshole. A couple surprises show up - "Werewolf Derelict" features lyrics penned by Pete Helmkamp (Order From Chaos), and the track "Antichrist Hammerfist" was written by Ryan Forster (Conqueror). Some may think it's a bit gimmicky, but the respective lyrics and song are right in place with Diocletian, so I think it comes across really well.

It's safe to say that Diocletian are headed in the right direction. They've taken that war metal sound and expanded it into a more coherent death metal territory, and as a result, have made it all the more effective. This will appeal to fans of old school death metal and war/black metal alike.

Excellent chaotic death metal; crushing! - 90%

vorfeed, August 1st, 2009

This is the first full-length album from Diocletian, a New Zealand band playing black/death metal.

The production on this record is even more dense than on their previous releases. Doom Cult is a thick sea of rumbling low-end, from which slicing pick slides, ripping lead guitar lines, and snarled vocals protrude. The result is ridiculously heavy and unrelenting. This isn't a style which benefits from clarity in production, anyway, and these guys know it.

The songwriting here is relentless from start to finish, in the vein of Blasphemy and Revenge -- even the slow breaks are oppressive and crushing. Fortunately, the riffing, vocals, and drumming are more than distinctive enough to hold the listener's interest! Multiple listens reveal a great deal of complexity beneath the churning, blasting surface; the sheer number of quality riffs packed into seemingly-straightforward songs like "Oath to Ruin" and "Bullet Vomited" is surprising. Others, like "Werewolf Directive" and "Heretics", are thick with atmosphere and power, heightening the album's overwhelming feeling of crushing density. Then there's "Baphocletian", which starts out at full speed and then transitions into a stomping, swaggering part that'll have your head banging. The variety here is astonishing, especially since every single moment is a variation on "aggressive" and "heavy" -- no faux experimental parts or concessions to melody can be found here. The artwork is worth mentioning, also: the cover iconography is simple yet effective, and the fold-out centerpiece is one of the best pieces of metal art I have ever seen! It should be absolutely stunning on the forthcoming LP.

Doom Cult more than fulfills the promise of Diocletian's mCD and 7" work, focusing the band's attack in one of the best albums of 2009. Anyone who worships Order From Chaos, Blasphemy, or Revenge should get this immediately. Highest recommendations.

Standout tracks: "Werewolf Directive", "Antichrist Hammerfist", "Baphocletian"