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Just some of the higher end death metal line-up resurrections this year include Amon's nigh-necromantic reappearance with a "debut" album, a '90s Asphyx mashup as the sublime Grand Supreme Blood Court, and this here Weapons To Hunt, which basically functions as a reason for old and current members of the revolving door dutch death metal act Sinister to crank some more vicious, thrashing rhythms together.
And vicious and thrashing it is, not to mention rhythmic. Blessed In Sin one-ups the pace of recent Sinister offerings, with the band choosing the more hysterical end of the brutal and brutalizing death metal spectrum. D-beats and double bass are legion, and vortex-like tremolo accompaniments are king.
The sound of the album is great. Buzzing guitar riffs ahoy, but not the Swedeath kind - more akin to Morbid Angel or Hate Eternal electric shitstorms if channelled into a more straightforward and almost blast-less monster. The drums are, yes, also straightforward as mentioned, but the constant and inventive fills promise a good time for those looking for more than pace-keeping. To be honest though, the vocals leave much to be desired, lacking some of the spite or depth that might give the relentless riffs the tyrannical context desired. Even so, this would likely be mighty fine live. It's that kind of record. Like some of the motoring drumming on songs like 'Bullets For The Assassin' or 'False Positive System' is irresistible neck-snapping material, as is the palm-muted savagery and Vader-like d-beat turmoil of 'Merciless Impact'.
So one thing I despise about a lot of reviews (yeah as a reviewer you start to get pet hates about reviewing) is the use of this phrase "one-two-punch" to describe two really great songs, usually fast'uns, opening an album. What the fuck is that? I don't know why it annoys me so much. It just... grates with me. Just sounds shitty (although it seems I have also used it in the past, damn damn damn...). Anyway the point is some reviewers might legitimately use that over-milked piece of descriptive dross to talk about this record, because that's exactly what happens - two rollicking cookers to get you going. Except they'd still be wrong because then you get 'Corpse Field' and a bunch others after that. What I'm saying is the quality is consistent throughout, which is not often found with a lot of death thrash. 'Cause where do you go after you've done loads of cool scrappy riffs, d-beats and crazy little solos for a few tracks? Slow groovy songs? "Anthemic" songs? Nah, say Weapons To Hunt, keep at it brother, just keep at it. I like the attitude, to be honest with you.
So this one or the new Sinister record in return for your hard earned? (Let's face it you don't really need both). Well the vocals are the same on both (average), the latter has a bit more variation in terms of tempo but the sheer energy, instrumental tightness, and frenetic pacing of this put it above probably most of the recent Sinister albums. And you really warm to it the more you play it, I find. Recommended for Sinister die-hards and death-thrashers looking for potential Vader stop-gaps.
Weapons to Hunt play mid to fast paced death thrash with a streak of swe-death and some, but not a lot of melody. The riffing is somewhat like the old Florida death/thrash style, but the feel is more like Swedish death metal, though not as crushing as the Sunlight sound, a bit more streamlined for thrash. The vocals are pretty smooth for growls, not ferocious nor emotive, they're solid and fit the music well, but they're not really distinct. It's a style with plenty that is familiar to any death metal, comfortable but not exceptional.
The riffing is solid, and it sounds best when they juxtapose it with something a bit slower or more melodic. The band is at their strongest not with, but all around these sections, since it contrasts and makes the faster sections seem faster and more aggressive. Sometimes they thrash away for a long time, getting monotonous - more than a few similar riffs in a row and their effect is diminished. There's nothing extremely fast, but there's not much that's slow either, a lot of it blends together into death metal that's a bit faster than mid paced, a bit slower than high speed thrash, and works its way into where what it is doing is predictable, it's going to be somewhat aggressive and fast, but it isn't highlighted by the arrangements nor the rest of the music. WTH could display their strengths better if they framed their riffs a bit better with subtle or overt dynamic changes.
The drumming is good, it stands out at the right points due to separating riffs and moving the music with fills when it's not blasting. Still, it does get stuck in the same monotony that plagues and otherwise strong performance by the whole band. They've got one speed that they're comfortable at and they cruise at that a bit too much. Any breaks around that tend to offer a strong point where they found something else that'll fit well, though it gets a bit rough at times, it is welcome.
Weapons to Hunt don't reinvent anything nor are they the best at what they do, they're one of many Swedish bands in a sea of good bands, but if you're a fan of the death end of death/thrash, you'll probably enjoy this. You know what you're getting.