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Pure death metal elitism... - 97%

metalbrain, September 11th, 2006

A scant ten years have passed since this CD was unleashed in 1996, yet it still seems to be as ignored now as it was then, unbelievably enough. Most people who follow the true death metal scene to any real extent will know that Crimson Relic was labeled as a continuation of sorts of Divine Eve, even though the other former members of that band contest this. Xan Hammack was the mastermind behind "Purgatory's Reign", with assistance provided by drummer Rhett Davis of Morgion.


Call them what you will, but Crimson Relic blended perfectly the best points of early Celtic Frost and early Entombed (with additional touches of Slayer), to arrive at this crushing masterpiece. Musically speaking, there are simply no weaknesses in any of these 10 songs--each one is crafted expertly and perfectly, leaving nothing lacking for the devotee of real death metal. All 10 songs are laden with some of the most dismal and atmospheric riffs ever recorded by a death metal band. It would be far too easy to label this "old school" because such a useless term does nothing to describe the majesty and brilliance of this album. This is, without a doubt, one of the finest moments in American death metal, probably made more obvious because this is so un-American sounding. If this would've been released in 1986 or 2006, it would be just as impressive--in other words, this is the epitome of timeless metal. The only flaw is the production since the vocals are a little low in the final mix, but that is a minor complaint really and hardly worth mentioning considering the quality of the material.


This album claimed the top notch in my top ten list for 1996 and still remains in my top 100 of all time. It's rather doubtful that Nuclear Blast will ever repress this, but it's still obtainable with a minimal amount of effort and I would encourage you to get it before it fades away forever in years to come.