Annihilation – Against the Storm (Review)

AnnihilationPortuguese band Annihilation play Death Metal. This album came out a good few years ago now and judging by what happened when I pressed play it’s a sin that I’ve overlooked them for this long.

When the first track Tortured With Hate started I involuntarily exclaimed “ooooh yeaaah!” under my breath. This is the stuff that keeps me returning to Death Metal again and again and again! After the excitement of the cataclysmic opening I calmed myself and tried to listen objectively, but it was no good; the sheer wanton brutality, infectious guitar melodies and multi-layered demonic-Deicide vocals had me hooked. Bye bye reason, hello Death Metal passion.

The rest of the album doesn’t disappoint. Mechanized drum brutality and sinuous, malevolent guitars battle each other for pride of place. All the time the vocalist, who appears to be blessed with Satan’s own lungs, is giving Glen Benton a serious run for his money in the Top Growler competition that I’m sure is running somewhere in the world as we speak.

It’s not all focused brutality though; there is an evil melodic streak to the band when they want to show it. They also throw in some guitar solos; especially enjoyable are the ones that sound almost lazily played; meandering over the thick chaos of the rest of the song .

This is somewhat of an unexpected revelation; Annihilation have certainly made me a very happy bunny. Can they do the same for you?

Derogatory – Above All Else (Review)

DerogatoryAn unexpectedly melodic intro sets the scene for the start of this USDM album by Derogatory. Once this is over it’s straight into the blasting, although this soon tapers off and reveals a band that are capable of varying their speed rather than always going for the most brutal option of smothering everything in blastbeats.

This album is full of Old-School Death Metal in the 90’s US style, and as such you can hear the influence of bands such as Deicide and Morbid Angel being channelled into Above All Else.

Double bass, solos, thick guitars and deep growls pepper this release in all the right places, and the songs are simple-but-effective and provide that Death Metal fix that obsessive fans of the genre crave on a daily basis.

The sound of the album is the main weak spot – it’s perfectly workman-like, but I feel the songs could be allowed to breathe better with a more coherent production. It doesn’t sound bad but it could sound better. Ultimately this doesn’t detract from the songs too much and is more of a “note for next time”.

At 9 tracks and 39 minutes, this is a pleasant romp through 90’s Death Metal that will more than satisfy fans of this genre.

Amon – Liar in Wait (Review)

AmonAs many of you will know; Amon started out life in 1987 and eventually morphed into Deicide. Now, a mere 25+ years later, we have their début album!

If you are familiar with Deicide then you know the general style here, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Among Us is the first track and sets the scene perfectly; muscular, rhythmic Death Metal with a strong sound and some excellent riffs and leads. I wasn’t sure how good this release would be, but this song instantly set my mind to rest. The remaining tracks follow this trend.

It’s clear that the passion and intensity that Eric and Brian Hoffman have for Death Metal is alive and well. This is not diluted or pasteurised in anyway – this is the real deal. What we get is riff/song-focused Metal that is effortless in its delivery and flawless in execution.

Being a very guitar-oriented album there are solos aplenty. Anyone who has been following my reviews for a while now may have noticed that I’m partial to the odd solo, so you can imagine how much I enjoy this.

The recording and general sound of this album is first-rate, as you would expect. The guitar tone is enough to bring me out in fits of excitement alone as it’s just so damn sexy, and the blazing solos on top of it is like listening to liquid gold.

It’s not all about the guitars of course, vital as they are. The drums are blasted out with passion and technique, and the vocalist is, quite frankly, excellent.

With Deicide being such a high-profile band I can imagine Amon causing a split in opinion between those that love the consistency of a familiar sound done extremely well, and between those who were hoping for something different and are disappointed. I am firmly of the former camp and I just can’t stop listening to this.