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It is sweet & fitting to [blast] for one’s country - 76%

Tofumanchu, January 29th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Karmageddon Media

The outspoken Dutchmen return with an album broader in scope than their previous 'The Apotheosis'. Although the first track employs a blasting harmonised eastern melody and two tracks (Origin and 1917) are sodden with ascending ithyphallic fretwork and chromatic jitters, this album embraces classic Swedish death metal influences far more fully than the all-pervading Nile. The fusion of classic and modern makes this album far more enjoyable than the sum of its individual parts.

The journey is dynamically varied in all departments. The vocals range from minimalistic growls to all out harmonised roars, the drums go from tight compact patterns to frenzied beating and the guitars and bass cover ground between the styles of Carnage and an uncomplicated Nile. There is a strong taste of Entombed and many blackened thrashing death moments in the vein of Dissection (for example, The Cruel Hunters). However, the first three Hypocrisy albums are probably the most evident riff influences overall, particularly in 7 Months of Suffering with its simple but effective mid-paced groove and grand tremolo riffing (synth-augmented).

1567 serves as a representative microcosm of the album, demonstrating the successful use of synths to open up the music during detuned blast melodies as well as tortured multi-layered vocals conveying vivid lyrics of historical atrocity. The use of effects is subtle but worthy throughout, including decaying choral synth echoes, freaky sirens and abrasive flanging (under the corpulent doomy verses of Concrete Sarcophagus). The Haunted Ravines of Babi Yar is a superbly written interlude that is very reminiscent of My Dying Bride circa 'Turn Loose the Swans' with its emotively bleak harmonies. The listener is treated to more of this in the title track, an anthemic lumbering mix of old Gorefest and My Dying Bride. The use of string orchestration gives the song immense depth and gloom before dive-bombs and scrapes end the images of Stalin's Siberian prison/labour camps.

This is a strong performance where the music is well linked to the lyrics. As the songs do not dwell in chaos or minimalism for too long it is likely to appeal to a wide audience. However, the guitar solos are still pointless, distracting and poor retro imitations of old school shredding and strangling. It has been quite a while since I've heard solos this dire, but luckily they are fairly quiet in the mix. The ultimate way forward is to get rid of those merely passable retro riffs that take up valuable space and inject more innovative and exciting segments.

[originally written for Diabolical Conquest webzine]

Hahaha. But seriously... - 10%

morbert, April 14th, 2009

There's been much talk about this band. And most of the talk has come from the band themselves. . Most of the time being busy with image-building and provocation. Pathetic? Yes, actually it is. Type-O-Negative did similar things in their earliest days but they at least had great music to back up their claims. Now, this shamefull self-profilation has been a reason for a few years to just ignore these boys I prefer my bands focussing on the music and if they have something to say, that's what the lyric sheet and booklet are for.

But recently after seeing more and more positive reviews by professional mags as well as some low profile online zines, I tried to finally give them a spin and got my hands on "Trivmvirate" and this "The White Crematorium" thingy. And all I can say after listening to both of them for about a week in between really good albums is: what a joke.

Let me elaborate: First song, a really bad grunt. Just your generic second half of the nineties growl with no dynamics whatsoever. Guitars are downtuned but the riffs sound like monkeys throwing mud over the very digital (and probably extremly computerised and quantised) sounding drums. One and a half minute of blending lesser-era Morbid Angel with brainless Mortician woodchipping. Then all of a sudden a change... The band totally goes Cradle Of Filthy including some spoken mumbling and a keyboard-choir before going into full speed again. Well, full speed on the drums that is. Only incidentally the guitars decide to go along in the pace but most of the time it's generic slow righthand 'chugging' with incidental 'notes' here and there but not enough to call them 'riffs'.

And that's the story which goes for the entire album. Either the drummer goes full (blast) speed trying something between Morbid Angel and Mortician and the soundscape is filled up with the mud coming from guitars and vocals or it's bombastic middel-era Cradle Of Filth (here and there even WITH a Dani-like scream) and a bit of Dimmu Dorknagar thrown in but without equally memorable melodies. Oh, and the part of the Dutch national anthem in "1567 - Under the Blood Campaign"...Sodom did that trick once (with the German anthem of course) and it just isn't funny anymore. And those lyrics feel like they've just been copied from a grammar school history pamflet. Painful.

Bombast, bombast and yes, bombast! No substance, no classic riffs, no great breaks. The more I listen to this, the more I get the feeling it is actually a great joke.
The emperor's clothes I you know what I mean. It's all a joke and they'll probably admit that after a breakthrough they expect to have someday soon?
Read the story of The KLF and you'll problably understand. Only, The Monolith Deathcult haven't written their "THE MANUAL (how to have a number one the easy way)" yet...
Ignore this. I'm glad more serious bands Gorefest and Pestilence came back to save Holland's death metal image.