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Lord Belial, I Mean Death Tyrant - 82%

TheStormIRide, July 22nd, 2013

Death Tyrant is a melodic black metal band from Sweden with nods to the mid-nineties blackened death metal scene spearheaded by the likes of Dissection and Naglfar. Well, I should say more than a few nods, especially being that the band is home to the brothers Backelin of the legendary Lord Belial on guitar and bass. The rest of the band is rounded out by another set of brothers, Joakim and Dennis Antonsson who play drums and guitar respectively, and the only one not sharing a mother with another member, Nárgraðr Agartha, on vocals. Having members from Lord Belial should give you a passing idea what to expect: blackened yet atmospheric metal with progressive touches at times (though a little less black metal oriented than Lord Belial).

Death Tyrant’s first full length album, “Opus de Tyranis”, is firmly rooted in the melodious blackened traditions of Sweden’s heralded past. This album, although it’s twenty years late to the party, would fit perfectly alongside your Dissection and Sacramentum albums. Even the production just screams mid-nineties Swedish melodic black metal, with its natural tones and a surprisingly warm guitar tone. The production is clear, but not to the mechanized reaches of more modern acts, and has a definite old school feel to the job.

The majority of the release showcases blasting drums and heavy, blackened riffs interspersed with melodic segues and lead lines. The drums, more progressive sections aside, are pretty much a nonstop barrage of double bass runs and borderline blast beats at full, breakneck speed. The album focuses on a dark atmosphere, forced along by utilizing winding guitar passages and tasteful lead work. The vocals are a forceful and deep shout with loads of raspiness. Tracks like “Ixion – The Fallen King of the Laphits” show the band delving into melodic black metal along the lines of Old Man's Child while still retaining a decidedly old school feel to the riffing. The way Death Tyrant bounces from trem riffing to melodic minor key notes seamlessly is a testament to the songwriting abilities of this act (it helps that Lord Belial has been doing this since 1992). Basically, you have blasting, fast paced yet atmospheric black metal which periodically bounces off into a melodic segment to ease the tension a bit, like on the acoustic tinged segment during “Impending Day of Wrath”. The guitars are, far and away, the highlight of this album, with the lead lines adding some minor progressive touches along the way in the way of soaring scales and extrapolations, but typically staying with the melodic black metal realm of cyclical trem lines and blackened power chords.

The biggest drawback to “Opus de Tyranis” is that everything on this album has been heard before in some form or another. All instruments continuously fire on all cylinders and the performances are spot on, but this style has been done to death by a lot of bands. If you dig the melodic nature of the mid-90’s Swedish black metal scene then by all means check this out. This is a well performed and polished yet nostalgic piece of metal that should please fans of any band mentioned during this review.

Written for The Metal Observer: