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Melodic DEATH Metal - 90%

The_Evil_Hat, September 19th, 2008

Godless Rising was formed by two ex members of Let us Pray era Vital Remains. When I heard this I was intrigued and when I saw the stellar reviews I ordered the CD from Moribund. When it came my excitement rose higher. The cover was awesome and (despite their name) the band seems to have decided to mostly leave satanic topics alone and to focus on war, which is a far better theme, in my opinion, for death metal.

The album opens with Heathens Rage and the first thing that you hear is a violin. It doesn’t even seem to be an intro riff but feels as if you dropped in halfway through the violin’s portion of the song. For some odd reason, this doesn’t come off as unsettling but rather immediately draws you into the album. By the end of the spectacular first song you know that you’re in for a treat.

While the band has members from Vital Remains they are nothing like their far larger relative. Godless Rising are very melodic, but not in the clichéd and usually cheesy Gothenburg way. Instead, think of a heavy death metal riff with a neo classical type solo playing on top of it. I generally am not a big fan of guitar solos. Unless a solo is truly extraordinary or atrocious it will usually flow by me without me so much as noticing it while I focus on something more interesting – like, say, the backing riff. That isn’t the case here. The lead guitarist here dethroned Dave Suzuki as my favorite soloist / lead guitarist with ease. The solos are melodic yet fit in with the heavier riffs, they are also fast and technical but never border on pointless wankery like so many other bands solos have. Since I’ve mentioned Dave Suzuki already I’ll bring up the only link to Vital Remains that this has, and that link is, of course the solos. Only, these aren’t hit or miss in the slightest. They never feel tacked on and instead are the focal point of the songs.

I’ve described the guitars but they are far from the only stand out instruments on this release. The drums are truly exemplary. The drums don’t rely on pure blasting as many bands do but instead use lightening fast and machine gun fired double bass as their main method of destruction. Descriptions like those are used often and usually mean nothing more than standard drumming where the drummer can play above a hundred fifty BPM. Not here. This is truly the only drummer I have ever heard that can give George Kollias a run for his money when it comes to double bass. The drumming on this album is far from a one trick pony, however. Interesting and original beats are always around the corner and countless innovative fills dot the tattered and torn landscape. Blast beats are used as well and due to their scarcity they make whatever part they appear in truly ferocious.

As for the vocals they are good although not incredible. They alternate between growls and far rarer high shrieks. Both styles are fairly understandable for death metal which is good because the lyrics in the booklet are almost impossible to read (due to clashing with the background art). The lyrics themselves are enjoyable to listen to and fit the music, although they aren’t particularly amazing. The bass is solid enough, but it never deviates from the rhythm guitar enough to make an impression. The one time it is truly audible is on Sadistic Ritual Carnage where it has a brief fill right before what is by far the most brutal riff on the album. The production is good. It’s cleaner than most death metal but it fits on this album.

On the whole this is a truly great album and one that anyone who is into death metal and enjoys good and melodic solos NEEDS to hear. The album is a good length at around forty minutes long and is definitely worth whatever price you find it at. There are no real flaws to this album and it’s a joy to listen to straight through or broken up.

Standout Tracks: Sadistic Ritual Carnage, Lair of Cerabus, Heathens Rage, Conflict from Within and Revelations of the Dead King.