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Soulreaper Written in Blood - 90%

Revengeance, September 8th, 2008

The album can best be described as a brutal black metal + speed metal blend. A combination I love because it cuts the extreme black metal traditions with some more distinguishable grinding rhythms and ballsy chugging, thus giving the material the contrast it needs to maintain a superb level of aggression. In this regard, the whole album delivers.

The first track is relentless, grabbing you by the balls and not letting go. The following track slides over to the black metal side with signature creepy guitar picking lines, but takes the more tempered rhythms of a badass speed metal track over those of a traditional black metal ones… or so it seems, until about halfway through it becomes just a bloody blizzard of crushing metal. The third track continues the hard and heavy, but more straightforward (and the shortest on the album) and ends with a climactic solo. The fourth track is also very heavy and distinguishes itself immediately from its predecessor with a more intricate rhythm, and the short-but-sweet breakdown near to the end reminds you, “this album kicks ass.” Kicking off the next track is a blast beat, followed by churning low-end guitar work whilst the screaming commences. Speaking of the screaming, this track features some different vocal techniques, no clean work, just different ways of doing the death metal thing and near the end a classic kniving-troll-esque black metal voice makes an appearance, setting up the more trudging, deliberate (though not really slow) ending sequence. The second to last track utilizes the same kinds of techniques that were in the previous songs, still skull-crushing. The last track comes off as being a sort of jam track, with a greater number of different rhythmic/melodic/harmonic qualities (all within’ the realm previously established by the album), this one stands at a whopping 7 minutes and chooses to fade out while bashing away rather than fizzle or suddenly cut.

When the album is over you’re left craving more. No, “oh that was nice I’m ready to do something else now.” This is mostly due to the album length, about 35 minutes, but since that last track doesn’t persuade you to drop the severed heads you’ve accumulated you can feel free to plop on any other brutal black-speed-death-hell-kill-fuck album you want and it’ll flow just right. In this regard, since I don’t have, nor have I listened to, the other Soulreaper album… I usually wash it down with the Zyklon album Disintegrate.