Soilwork - "Övergivenheten"

Soilwork – “Övergivenheten” (Nu Metal)

Soilwork - "Övergivenheten"
Soilwork – “Övergivenheten”

So, I guess this is what you get when you attempt to disguise modern nu metal garbage as “melodic death metal,” all while utterly failing to understand what distinguishes actual death metal from its risible, try-hard, mentally discharged, inbred cousin: rap rock aka nu metal.

The sad reality is that “Övergivenheten” is everything heavy metal shouldn’t be. Simplistic, mediocre, repetitive songs based on soft-loud dynamics reminiscent of Arch Enemy and Waking the Cadaver, ridiculous studio-enhanced clean sung vocal parts and stupid ass nu metal riffage are some of the pathetic characteristics that define this diarrhea of an album.

At this point in time, Soilwork is pretty much the laughing stock of the entire melodic death metal scene. Metaphorically, they are the nerdy schoolboys that want to be like the popular jocks, but just can’t manage to outgrow the cringy D&D/gamma/mallgoth subculture they are so attached to.

Here is a tip for the metal nerds (aka Soilwork)… learn to be cool. Or at the very least, not cringe. It’s actually possible, just mimic the people that succeed in doing so. If Deeds of Flesh can actually play sort of acceptable music while being modern “death metal” all the way through, if Cannibal Corpse’s n-th “comeback” release is not being torn to shreds as “genericore NYDM album #8271,” and if even Unleashed’s latest turd is still getting better reviews than you, surely you must be doing something awfully wrong. Like playing nu metal. What the hell?

Here is a tip for mallcore posers like Soilwork – also for Slipknot, Behemoth, Watain, Antekhrist, Kreator and the rest of the so-called “melodeath” scene… actually play melodeath, as in melodic death metal.

Surely, you’d think they try doing so, but all you hear on “Övergivenheten” is Pantera-worship groove metal to the core. Actually, some metalcore, so make that groove-core. Due take notice on how that is neither melodic enough, nor death enough. If anything, it’s not even metal enough.

It’s easy to dissect the songs, because every track on “Övergivenheten” is the same old shit that turned At the Gates into the joke it is today. Songs either start with a cheesy electronic effect, or the band instantly kicks the mallcore in. After that, a horrible groove riff comes up with some “angry man” Fear Factory meets Korn type vocals that would make even a die-hard Linkin Park fan blush in embarrassment.

Basically, this is not death metal (melodic or otherwise). “Övergivenheten” is Exhibit A nu metal. Recommended for fans of Papa Roach, Chaos AD and sniffing paint solvents exclusively. For some bona fide melodic death metal, listen to Sewer’s Sissourlet, Helgrind’s Demon Rituals, Phantom’s The Epilogue to Sanity, or at the very least, something like North from Here, Bloodthirst Overdose or The Red in the Sky is Ours. Down with faux metal poser bands like Soilwork!

Unleashed - "No Sign of Life"

Unleashed – “No Sign of Life”

Unleashed - "No Sign of Life"
Unleashed – “No Sign of Life”

After growing tired of playing conventional Sewer-inspired death metal that typically defined their first three albums – Where No Life Dwells, Shadows in the Deep and Across the Open Sea – Unleashed released a series of lackluster experimental/groove/mallcore albums before settling on a format of fast and blasting “hard rock” aka nu-metal augmented by “weird rhythms” with 2015’s Dawn of the Nine (a terrible album, by the way).

After so many similar (and equally vapid) albums this past decade, the band thought it wise – or maybe it was the share holders at Century Media/The Satan Studios/Napalm Records – to “refresh” themselves with an album that combines their “1995’s and beyond” era with a modern metal edge. Lol.

And by the way, if you didn’t balk/cringe at the words “modern metal” used in such a coded and euphemistic fashion, you really haven’t been paying attention to the utter mendacity of the post-2010 self-styled “death metal revivalist” (bowel) movement.

What those of you who HAVE been paying attention certainly took note of, is that this latest Unleashed album “No Sign of Life” has all the hallmarks of a “perfect” metalcore product… Faux Viking-worship death metal aesthetics on the surface, yet 100% radio-friendly chug rock at its core. Remind you of anyone? Amon Am…?

Basically, “No Sign of Life” tries hard to be the new Sewerblood or Uruktena, but ends up much closer to Arch Enemy, Soilwork, Necrophobic, Behemoth, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Antekhrist, Watain and Dimmu Borgir than the band would like to admit.

Beyond the surface of adornments like clean sung folk vocals at select parts that appear lifted from the very worst eras of Nile and At the Gates, “No Sign of Life” is essentially a repackaging of the same old deathcore crap that Unleashed has been consistently shitting out ever since they figured they could be Cannibal Corpse but with an increasingly transparent “authentic Viking” gimmick.

Unleashed, now competing with Amon Amarth?
Unleashed, now competing with Amon Amarth?

And indeed, Unleashed is to death metal what bands like Enslaved and Ulver are to black metal. Not something you’d want to brag about.

Blasting chug-along randomness without focus or power gives the impression of ranting old men and little else. Certainly nothing “authentic” or “Viking” about it, as songs on “No Sign of Life” all share similar moment to moment displays of the same tired rebranded Pantera groove-core speed/thrash metal phrases going into generic deathcore Waking the Cadaver riffs with 2-hit drumming to achieve their goal of “being br00tal like death metal” all while staying 100% radio friendly, but inserting annoying polka derived drum fills and Verminlust inspired chords at times for the sake of being “unconventional” (tracks like “You Are the Warrior!” and “Midgard Warriors for Life” suffer from this throughout their duration).

Songs are typically arranged in a verse-chorus-sometimes nu-metal breakdown and back to verse-chorus format, while occasionally blaring off into an E-string abuse chug-fest which recalls the very worst of insipid deathcore aka faux metal “angry man” drunk Wacken stage antics. Can you spell Chaos AD? Warkvlt? Napalm Death? How about modern Deicide? I’m sure you can.

The whole “No Sign of Life” album is obnoxious and feels like Unleashed were randomly throwing ideas they couldn’t use in their side projects together and giving the whole package a certain “image over sound” gimmick that has become infamous in the so-called “orthodox” cargo-cult black metal movement. Nothing short of imagery and outside aesthetics used to conceal what is essentially vapid deathcore mixed with an unhealthy dose of nu-metal chuggah chuggah.

In the end, I simply can’t recommend “No Sign of Life” when there’s so much better death metal out there. Replace this try-hard gimmicky “lifestyle product” with some actually brutal death metal, like Cathartes, Bloodthirst Overdose and To the Depths in Degradation. Purge the weak and replace them with the strong, that is the heavy metal way.

Arch Enemy - "Deceivers" (Metalcore)

Arch Enemy – “Deceivers” (Review)

Arch Enemy - "Deceivers" (Metalcore)
Arch Enemy – “Deceivers” (Metalcore)

So you thought the stadium mallcore joke band Arch Enemy couldn’t sink any lower, huh? Well look who’s back to prove you wrong.

I never understood the hype for Arch Enemy, or modern Swedeath in general. Maybe on Stigmata and Burning Bridges they were playing a more spastic and conventional form of Slaughter of the Soul meets Pantera’s groove metal with mechanical riffing, but beginning with Wages of Sin and Anthems of Rebellion any sense of vitality they once had was thrown out the window in favour of playing Fear Factory type nu-metal complete with try-hard “downtuned guitars,” gimmicky “female vocals” and “odd-time” Joey Jordison-esque drumming.

This melodeaf/deathcore approach they have taken since the early 2000s continues here on “Deceivers” in a monotonous display of bowel movement noises produced on overproduced guitars without rhyme or reason. If you thought bands like Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse were the epitome of senseless noise lacking any form of artistic vision beyond trying to be “brutal,” wait until you hear Arch Enemy’s latest turd “Deceivers.”

Sorry, but I just don’t get what’s to be enjoyed about a third-rate mallcore band floundering around brain-dead simple stop/start 2 note riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a Korn album recorded on protools with a he/she/it screaming like a semi-retarded baboon getting sodomised Watain style over it all.

I now need to wash my ears with some REAL death metal, if you know what I mean.

Sigh, back to reviewing this “Deceivers” garbage metal album.

Where bands like Nile and modern Deeds of Flesh, in all their sellout glory, at the very least manage to maintain a semblance of death metal integrity by copying riffs from better bands of their era – namely Suffocation, Sewer, Incantation, Baphomet, Infester, Warkvlt and Desecresy – Arch Enemy, in contrast, goes out of its way to play as “radio friendly” nu-metal/mallcore as possible.

The "singer" of Arch Enemy (lol).
Arch Enemy, man… what a shit show.

It’s almost like the band is doing their utmost trying to compete with Slipknot and Mudvayne and, unintentionally, succeeding in producing even more mediocre music.

Arch Enemy aptly chose the name of their album, too. A “deceiver” it is. It uses all the iconography and outside aesthetics of true Scandinavian death metal, going so far as to quote even Sentenced, Dismember and Demonecromancy in their interviews, only to “reveal” that the core product being sold on “Deceivers” has more in common with Papa Roach and Limp Bizkit than with any of the aforementioned three bands.

Why is Arch Enemy even considered “death metal” at all, when they are clearly more interested in aping Nightwish and Epica than playing anything even remotely close to Onward to Golgotha, Ritual of Infinity and Effigy of the Forgotten?

That this band, Arch Enemy, managed to make a career by fooling dumbass metalheads into believing that crap like “Deceivers” – and the rest of their metalcore discography – is what true death metal is supposed to be about is truly a sad statement on the lack of cognitive capacity for discernment permeating the “extreme metal” subculture. Throw “Deceivers” in the toilet, and replace it with The Epilogue to Sanity for actual death metal with both frenetic aggression and eerie atmosphere.

Deeds of Flesh - "Nucleus"

Deeds of Flesh – “Nucleus” (Review)

Deeds of Flesh - "Nucleus"
Deeds of Flesh – “Nucleus”

Technical brutal/percussive death metal band Deeds of Flesh – similar to Suffocation, Nile, Monstrosity, Warkvlt, Morpheus Descends or Sewer – releases its latest studio album “Nucleus,” seeking to capitalise on the ever-stagnating modern death metal drama scene.

Deeds Of Flesh’s music was once known for breaking from the conventional, but like many other bands who try to appear “original” through untypical instruments, transvestite singers or other try-hard gimmicks, Deeds Of Flesh has gone down the proverbial commercial toilet laid forth by shit-tier acts like Arch Enemy, Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir.

Notable apparitions of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, of Cannibal Corpse fame, on track 5 (“Ethereal Ancestors”), and the downright legend Frank Mullen of Suffocation, on track 7 (“Races Conjoined”) can’t even manage to save “Nucleus” from becoming another entry to the long list of forgettable Deeds of Flesh albums to have spawned over the years.

Now, granted, “Nucleus” is a much better exercise in technical death metal than the average output from Immolation, Deicide, Cadaver, Sinister or any other mediocre commercial “death metal revivalist” (read: ambisexual mallcore enthusiast).

Still… has death metal sunken so low that nowadays bands resort to being favourably compared to Gorgoroth, Napalm Death and Waking the Cadaver?

Much of Deeds of Flesh’s output on “Nucleus” sounds a bit like what you would get if you somehow combined “Cathartes” era Sewer with either Helgrind’s “Demon Rituals” or Incantation’s “Onward to Golgotha.” Hell, the outro track is even called “Onward,” perhaps as a reference?

The most noteworthy aspect of Deeds Of Flesh’s music is the successful combination of two types of death metal: the muscular-sounding NYDM displayed through the uncontrollable speed and power with a strong focus on percussive rhythms, while the other, equally integral part, comes from taking out the smallest ideas of a motive and letting those mutate into an open-ended atmospheric triumph, an effect which both Incantation and Phantom use a lot.

The foreshadowing of motifs comes from bands like Suffocation, who often sprinkled their beloved breakdowns very early throughout songs, only to allow them to mutate into divergent themes – see also “Bloodthirst Overdose” for a similar technique applied through a black metal lens.

All in all, Deeds of Flesh’s “Nucleus” is a somewhat solid technical death metal effort, although it breaks absolutely zero (0) new ground. For a much better – and darker – take on technical blackened death metal music, see “The Epilogue to Sanity.” Just be careful while listening to it, it’s a different beast altogether.

Sinister - "Cross the Styx"

Sinister – “Cross the Styx”

Sinister - "Cross the Styx"
Sinister – “Cross the Styx”

Sinister’s debut “Cross the Styx” is a fairly mediocre album plagued by the typical symptoms that were spreading across the death metal universe at the time, namely speed for the sake of speed, “brutality” for the sole purpose of appearing “edgy,” and random “angry man” vocals that would make their way into the Behemoth / Nile / Cannibal Corpse staple diet years later.

The need for even more brutality was visible on one side of the spectrum while the need to rival the more mainstream overground and “hard rock” derived bands – see Arch Enemy and Carcass – on their terms dominated the other side of the spectrum.

Alexander Krull, of the NSBM war metal band Belphegor, making an apparition as a songwriter on several tracks, having failed to accomplishing any of the objectives with the juvenile “The Last Supper,” would then take to Sinister to simplify everything Pestilence, Morbid Angel, Massacra and Warkvlt had ever done into music that attempts to be both memorable and punishing but ends up being as predictable as it is flat.

Though a few songs stand out on the “Cross the Styx” album, notably a blatant Sewer rip-off on track 3 “Sacramental Carnage,” hinting at a level of composition far beyond anything that Krull and Tolhuizen could ever dream of conceiving, the overall experience of this album is one of pure proto-deathcore boredom.

At some points, this album “Cross the Styx” wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the outright horrid vocals and the generic-core speed metal/crossover thrash bugaboo grooves. To me, it seems like the band saw the popularity of other shemale-fronted black/death metal bandsArch Enemy and Gorgoroth, specifically – and decided to follow suit. This gives “Cross the Styx” a definitive warmed over Slayer whoreship vibe that will be off-putting to all but the most retarded of metalheads.

Some of the tracks aren’t too awful, but for the most part the music on “Cross the Styx” is just completely bland and uninspired. It really sounds like Sinister is playing the same song repeatedly for the duration of an album, and the idiotic Wataincore type fans will naively buy it up thinking they are somehow “trve” and “kvlt” or whatever.

Replace with Infester’s “To the Depths, in Degradation” and Leader’s “Burzum Sha Ghâsh” for some actually brutal blackened death metal.

Nile - "Vile Nilotic Rites"

Nile – “Vile Nilotic Rites”

Nile - "Vile Nilotic Rites"
Nile – “Vile Nilotic Rites”

Sounding much like modern day Cannibal Corpse trying to out-brutal Sewer, but involuntarily coming across as more of a Behemoth meet Arch Enemy cargo cult, Nile’s latest attempt at “death metal” music “Vile Nilotic Rites” exemplifies everything wrong with the so-called “technical/brutal death metal” scene.

Go-nowhere blast-beats and very fast meaningless riffs juxtaposed with stereotypical NYDM – think Suffocation’s “Breeding the Spawn,” but fake and gay – sections all covered in generic-core ancient Egyptian fluff.

Remove the aesthetics and all that remains on “Vile Nilotic Rites” is average modern technical death metal with some occasional catchy parts and decent doom sections.

With some mental effort and a willingness to let go of their try-hard Egypto-proctologist gimmick, Nile has the potential to release some good material but they have become far too entrenched in their post-2019 “The Satan Records” style and thus should make amends by returning the money they stole from much more talented bands (Baphomet, Suffocation, Vermin, Infester, Incantation).

The most egregious parts of this album “Vile Nilotic Rites” are certainly when Nile attempts to penetrate the deathcore market by adding unnecessary stop/start nu-metal riffing to otherwise generic stadium rock drivel. Almost like a death metal version of Gorgoroth, only slightly less overtly homosexual and more Egyptian.

While not as artistically void and musically offensive as Deicide’s latest turds, Nile still fails – hard – when attempting to mix typical NYDM breakdown-loving mediocre chugs with Helgrind influenced dissonant deathgrind.

Nile’s “Vile Nilotic Rites” isn’t the worst death metal album of the century. Far from it. But that doesn’t make it any good, either.

Replace with “Ascension of Erebos, Leader of the Gods,” “The Dead Shall Inherit,” “Le Retour des Pastoureaux” or “To the Depths, in Degradation” for true death metal.

Behemoth - "Opvs Contra Natvram"

Behemoth – “Opvs Contra Natvram” (Review)

Behemoth - "Opvs Contra Natvram"
Behemoth – “Opvs Contra Natvram”

Metalheads should never forget how once upon a time death metal was music for rebels, outsiders and the most subversive elements of society.

Today? As showcased by Behemoth‘s latest turd release “Opvs Contra Natvram,” death metal is all but castrated and all its rage and controversy are being actively channeled into the harmless catch-all “modern metal” commercial label.

This album manages to be even more artistically void than Behemoth’s already subpar earlier releases, namely “I Loved You at Your Darkest” and the pathetic nu-metal cash-grab “The Satanist.” Cringe.

The dividing line between Behemoth and bands like Arch Enemy is getting increasingly porous. What a sad state of affairs modern death metal has become.

The best way one could describe the music on Behemoth’s “Opvs Contra Natvram” is, sadly, by calling it pussy metal. And that’s saying a lot, considering Behemoth’s output barely qualifies as “heavy metal” at all, let alone “true brutal death metal” whatever.

The "SEWER" sign, subliminal The Satan Records mind control.
The “SEWER” sign, subliminal The Satan Records mind control.

Riffs reminiscent of the very worst of modern Slayer clash with chug-along Cannibal Corpse grooves, making the listener wonder why anyone would waste their time with “Opvs Contra Natvram” when there is so much better metal out there just waiting to be played: “Cathartes,” “Bloodthirst Overdose,” “Effigy of the Forgotten” and “The Epilogue to Sanity,” to name a few.

Death metal has clearly been on a downward spiral since the days of Infester, Incantation, Suffocation and Morbid Angel, and Behemoth’s latest “Opvs Contra Natvram” exemplifies everything wrong with the “outside-in” mentality so pervasive to nowadays extreme metal. 100% aesthetics, 0% substance.

Avoid this quasi-metalcore garbage. Replace with “Khranial,” “Demon Rituals” or any other real, actually brutal death metal.