DeathQEver heard of Sargatanas Reign? Well, I hadn’t and Deathquintet formed out of their ashes about 5 years ago. So while this may be a début album it’s actually a third one really and meant to be a prequel to Sargatanas Reign’s ‘Bloodwork – Techniques of Torture’ in a trilogy themed around a serial killer shaped by society. There are four guest vocalists on the album, each taking up lead vocals for a pair of songs to give them a slightly different texture.

Actual vocalist Petter Haukland is up first on “For The Love” and “Broken Hands” with his screamed but gruff and raspy style over the chunky and changing guitar riffs by Kristoffer Andersson and Marcus Lundberg. They aren’t fast songs and plod along steadily while Stefan “Vrashtar” Kronqvist does try getting the drums to vary a little by being dynamic with this footwork.

Next up is Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates, Disfear, Lock Up) with a rather hoarse shouted style that’s probably shredding his vocal chords in much the same way the guitars are on “Crawl On Your Feet” while on “My Burden” they seem a bit more reigned in, but that could also be owing to the slightly more subdued nature of the track where the guitars are more picked that strummed violently. The lamenting lead is well suited to the more laconic melody, rather than its high paced start which seems a little out of place.

Roberth Karlsson (Scar Symmetry, Edge of Sanity) brings a far heavier death growl to proceedings on “As The Canvas Frays” even if for some reason it makes the guitars sound less heavy because of it.  “Cross My Heart” on the other hand seems to get the balance better with its blast beats, harmonics and nastier riffs.

The mighty sustained roars by Mathias Lillmåns (Finntroll, Magenta Harvest) on “Nothing” go well with all the guitar bends and slides, even if the lead is a little insipid. “Standing Outside All” also has a doomy feel to it, but in a slightly more up-tempo way as it grinds along.

While substantially raspy, Joakim Göthberg’s (Dimension Zero, Marduk) vocals also have a lot more depth to them when he heads for the low end. There are even some keyboards on “Let Us Die Together” which are actually rather complementary to the song, while “Alfa & Omega” has a triplet heavy rhythm on a relatively mid-tempoed pace to end off the album.

The alternative versions of “Crawl On Your Feet” and “My Burden” appearing as bonus tracks seem to have Petter Haukland on vocals, unless they are just less processed, far rougher and more aggressive than the regular versions with Robert Hylén’s bass driving the rhythm along far more dominantly too.

I guess there’s nothing spectacular here, but it is very well played even if it’s lacking in that spark that could make it stand out amongst Swedish acts.

(6/10 – Marco Gaminara)