Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2023
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

One-Riff Death Metal - 91%

backtonorth, February 27th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Memento Mori

Really. The riffs on this full-length can be practically be counted on two hands. Sound compelling? It honestly shouldn't, and it won't be on the first listen, either. Perhaps even listens #2 and #3 will be just as boring, and have you lamenting your wasted time.

However! Ziyadah (what? Dutch doom/death is weird) will eventually and absolutely subsume you with its brute mass, given the opportunity. Imagine Obituary without the speedy breaks; Winter without the consistent chugging, double-bass and choruses -- fundamentally, it is dirge-like, Celtic Frost-influenced death metal exposed at its hardened foundation.

There is little true structure to be found, with most of the variation coming from the wandering vocals. Which, by the way, are excellent, trenchant growls, delivering non-linear, existentially poignant lyrics. And it is slow, and blanketed by a pulsating, moss-like carpet of bass.

The opening track "Witchfire,' with its three (!) riffs, sets the stage beautifully. Two of the "riffs," as is often the case, are two- and three-chord wonders with only the slightest melodic touches. "Reverse" is sickeningly hypnotic ("Haunted! Visions! Man chases his incompetence!" over, and over, and over). This is complemented later on the album by the wonderfully dreadful pair of "Individual" and "Aimless," from whose simple repetition and crawling rants emerges a sense of true personal fear. Only the final track "Die" isn't perfectly to my liking, but it's still a gut-punch, and I seem to be in the minority there so I can leave it be.

It's easy to see why Ziyadah was overlooked. It was 1993, on the so-so Adipocere Records, and has ambiguous album art and a superficially stupid formula. But it works, it is great, and anybody who covets death metal purity should own a copy. Sincerest recommendations.