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Pretty peculiar thrash from Poland - 70%

Lane, March 14th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Defense Records

Hey, it feels refreshing to comment about a thrash metal band without need to write "they totally sound like Exodus, Testament, Kreator and Metallica." Or Sodom, Megadeth, Destruction or Slayer... Or whatever bigger, established names. Rotengeist hail from Poland, but do not sound like Vader or Behemoth. I'm trying to portray Rotengeist's peculiarity, as their progressive thrash is just like that.

This third album from Przemyƛl boys is a show of technicality and quirkiness. The riffs at weirdest are not too easy to follow; take a thrash riff and add some out-of-norm chords to it. Disastrous disharmonies and oppressive open-string playing does happen quite a lot. Guitar solos include beautifully constructed melodic one on the opener, akin to Testament, but also insane-sounding fretboard runs like Slayer's. But then there are really simple ones, too, in groove metal style. Same goes with other instruments. The band do not stick to one tempo or part for a very long time, but then again, there are easily memorable bits and pieces in songs, that aren't mess, but well composed. This is somewhere in the middle ground of Watchtower and Sepultura's 'Chaos A.D.'.

'The Test That Divides Us All' is a short album; mere 32 minutes, and there's a cover song on it. Still, it is very much varying in all. 'New Direction' is a fast thrash/death song, that has strong 80s vibe to it. 'Lunatics Fanatics' has vocals like Max Cavalera's... I think it is a tribute to tell the truth. 'Butcher's Bill' has some very Melechesh style Mid-Eastern riffs in it. Groovy 'Pray, Hate... Fight!' contains warped Megadeth meet Cannibal Corpse riffs. And that punk cover... Maybe too varying for its own good, depending on listener's recepteviness.

The vocals are quite similar to Max Cavalera's angry shout/bark/hoarse throat style, which is used somewhat differently throughout the album. Some guest vocals were added, most noticeably that female anger on the cover song. Lyrical themes are about the state of the world, so another link to 'Chaos A.D.' right there.

The production job is the thing that I feel is somewhat powerless. Especially some guitar tones utilized are simply feeble and dry, kind of muddy. Then there's these fluffy snare and bass drum sounds bringing down the severity. Every instrument is easy to hear, and it certainly does sound like a trio is playing, as it is. Sure, there is a live vibe to it, but it just is not devastating.

Rotengeist's third album surely is an oddball, and offers good moments for anyone looking for such (thrashy) stuff. It is quite not that blitzkrieg that its length bodes it could have been, though.

(Originally written for