» Blog Archive Reviews: The Expressive Faces Of Modern Death Metal -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

2018 is the year of death metal, make no mistake. Be it the bands who stick to tradition or the new up-and-coming bands that are trying something new, this year has been one of the best for the genre in a little while. Take a look at some of the smaller bands that are working to make their name:


The unsanctioned offspring of Decrepit Birth and Ne Obliviscaris is nothing to scoff at, as the delivery of the former marries the flow of the former. Gourmand have ambitions, and with everything packed together into a tightly knit package that is their second studio album, it’s an admirable endeavor if anything. What with tasty guitar licks and sweeping dynamics carrying every song to and from the peaks of mountains to their roots, you’d be hard pressed to not expect Tim Charles of Ne O to show up on “A Message in Wax.”

This is impressive stuff and really sets the standard high for a band on their second studio album, Blossoming From the Grave, and with no label to back them. They sure as hell know what they’re doing and are making Gourmand something of a passion project, but with their vision comes a limitation in the form of production woes. The guitars have little dimension to them, the bass is packed way in the back of the mix, and the vocals could definitely do with some reverb, resulting in a sound that’s more evocative of older death metal releases than an all-encompassing sound that the band’s songwriting demands. It doesn’t to be a crystal clear production, but already good song would be made into great ones with a larger scale to them. This doesn’t make the album unlistenable, as it’s quite enjoyable and inspiring, but it makes me want more from Gourmand and on the scale they truly deserve.


Brood of Hatred

Good GOD what was hiding in Tunisia? Brood of Hatred is beastly and I don’t say that lightly. Taking cues from the early cuts of Opeth with the structure of Katatonia and the production of Gorguts, Muhammed Mêlki proves on Identiy Disorder that he can run with the big leagues and that they’d honestly better step up their game. Everything about this album is cold, as if from the far reaches of a Scandinavian country, and functions almost as an exhumation of internalized demons.

At 7 tracks and 48 minutes, Identity Disorder plays all its cards right and brings you in right away, but it’s the Agalloch-like atmosphere that is almost infectious, and that alone is worthy of listening. With a raw production used to its fullest potential, those yearning for Opeth-like music with growls will undoubtedly feel right at home, but with guitar solos and instrumental sections abound, Brood of Hatred goes in different directions than their Swedish influences would normally. Very impressive album all around, anyone trying to do something like this should take note.


Solium Fatalis

There’s promise in a band that doesn’t confine themselves to past sounds. The spectrum of melodic death metal can be a glossy affair or a gritty and Solium Fatalis defy the opposition and go for both. Their fourth studio album, Genetically Engineered to Enslave, has excellent production, a display of their talent that many bands of their standing could only dream of having, and their musicianship and writing are well on display and it’s a thorough affair that keeps this album an entertaining one. Tracks like “Factor Red” chug along to a streamlined Meshuggah-like dirge, whereas it transitions out of the album’s dynamically-driven “A Gathering of Storms” prior. Solium Fatalis have a diverse array of songs here, and structurally the album is sound and hard-hitting.

The band, however, runs their album just under 45 minutes, and even the modest length cannot escape a sense of lethargy periodically. Namely, “Lake of Extinction” and “Chemical Reagent” do little to diversify the track listing, and are the moments on the album where I found myself checking out on repeat listens. Yet still, that’s 8 tracks of hard hitting, beautifully produced melo death that only the likes of At the Gates could rival. Even still, they’re not a fitting comparison for Solium Fatalis. They’ve got their own thing going on and they couldn’t be in a better place with this album.

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