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This CD’s historical moment is that when the death metal scene was starting to grow. Just like Morbid Angel’s “Altars of Madness”, Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore” or Possessed’s “Seven Churches”, this is still very tied to thrash. There is the trademark death metal riffing (downtuned guitars, no blanks between the notes), but still, lots of thrash riffs are to be found here. The vocals aren’t the established growls of nowadays, but a harsher version of the thrash vocals.
The 10 Commandants is not as praised as the CDs mentioned above, what’s a pity, because albeit having some downfalls, it’s pretty decent. There are some good riffs and tight drumming, never abusing the blastbeats and the double bass drums. This latter tool is very well used, fast and not constant. There are speedy parts and lots of midpaced ones, too. The bass is not audible, except by a little solo at the seventh track. The vocalist is somewhere within thrash (because the lyrics are intelligible) and DM, but he is very harsh and has some INSANE screams.
This CD has a pretty significant gripe: The midpaced, thrashy moments and tracks. The slower parts are responsible by the most boring moments in this listen. For example, the fifth track: lots of very uninspired midtempo riffs. The next track suffers of the same problem: while the faster sections rule so much, with their DM riffs, the slower parts are, at best, acceptable, not to say mediocre. There are also some recycled riffs: The eighty track one (near the end, with the blastbeats), which sounds almost the same as the intro riff at “Premature Burial” and the nineth track at 0:41, which rips off the third song’s intro.
The solos are also pretty forgettable. I’m damn sure everyone already listened to something that sounds exactly the same, even for when the album was released. And sometimes the solos are introduced without warning, changing the riff that came before into another one without warning, without a Dark Angel-like pause (…die in flames, die! *pause* guitar solo), without a little drum/bass fill before them. Sometimes that makes the song sound like a collage. To see how this works (or doesn’t), listen to the sixth track.
When they decide to speed things up to 99999 bpm, the CD picks up: Just listen to the first minute of the third track. The speed builds nicely as the riffs change in pure ruleage. As for the other songs, the faster, DM-ish parts are always good.
Highlights? The intro is pretty nice, with its doomy riff. In fact, this is one of the few intro tracks in this world I bother listening to. Premature Burial also rules, featuring some of the few good midtempo riffs in the whole album. The next track is amazing because of the burning speed, and the fourth one has a cool riff at 0:18 and a catchy vocal line after it.
Even though it has its flaws, this is an enjoyable album. Not good enough to be called legendary, but still decent and is worthy of a listen. It represents well the first wave of death metal.