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Ballsy Death Metal - 80%

Dead1, February 18th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, 2CD, Independent (Digipak)

There was a time when the phrase "Swedish death metal" was enough to send metalheads into a frenzy. But then Stockholm got stale and Gothenburg first got oversaturated and then immersed itself in mainstream pop mannerisms and generic clichés. Things got boring or too mellow or both. And then out of the ruins came Feared with album number 6: Synder…

Feared doesn't do anything new per se. What they do is take a whole heap of groove metal, melodic death, thrash and occasionally progressive components and wrap it around a core of meaty death metal. And they do it really well.

The result is ballsy and punchy riff-laden death metal. Unlike so many Nordic bands, Feared remember that the ultimate point of metal is aural violence and to worship the almighty riff. And it doesn't matter if that riff is a slow, groove-filled monster or blistering thrash attack. The vocals are done well too, be they cavernous growls, death thrash barks ala Marco Aro or even Randy Blythe-style bellows.

Sure they slow down and go proggy like on "The Narcissist" or moody on "Godless Devotion." But it's done well and even they can't help themselves but throw a pummelling thrash time change on "The Narcissist."

The highlights are undoubtedly the mid-to-faster-paced numbers, especially mosh anthems "Caligula" and "War Feeding War" or "My Own Redemption" with its muscular combo of big, chuggy riffs and guttural growls or in your face death thrash of "Dying Day."

There is one dud of a song here, and bizarrely the band chose it for a video. That's "By Silent Screaming" and it's boring and rather messy from the perspective of composition and flow. Still, 11 good-to-great songs out of 12 is pretty good.

It's great to once more hear some great ballsy death metal coming out of Sweden (aside from mighty Entombed/Entombed A.D./whatever they're called these days). Though the author hates such phrases, this is one of those instances when one could call a band underrated. This kind of quality metal demands attention and one can only hope Synder gives Feared some much deserved success.