MonumentombA foreboding chanted intro piece with fire crackling noises and other effects gives some sense as to the direction this UK band is expected to head with their debut offering. A grim but organic sound opens the title track and surprisingly the melody of the riffing is quite upbeat, as is the pace with intermittent blasting. The vocals are richly deep, cavernous in delivery but with substance and clarity. As the tune hits the blasting phase it feel like it’s been left to create as much bedlam as possible whilst the melodic hook takes a break. Listening to this I couldn’t help but be drawn to the likes of really early Paradise Lost and that raft of bands that came out in the early 1990s although this is much faster overall, just the feeling of the guitar breaks in the songs.

The chopping and changing of tempo in the songs is good, maintaining momentum and creativity as “In The Crypt Devoured” draws heavily on an old school death metal sound where any number of acts could be cited for comparison but I’ll say early Cancer as that is who it reminds me of. The production on this album is excellent, gritty in sound but punishing enough to retain authenticity without cloning. The slow start to “Perennial Interment” is classic death metal style, build it up before unleashing the scathing riff and increased pace, then couple it to a juggernaut double kick once underway, absolutely classic and first class. Old ears like mine detect all sorts of sound a likes, which is inevitable obviously, but this act had me trawling my memory for stuff like debut Amorphis, Demilich and some of the more ghastly Finnish death metal rather than Swedeath, which might be easier to reference and give some hints as to what it will be like, but the more discerning listener is not likely to fall for that as this is far nastier, especially the guitar sound. The opening riff to “Perpetual Execution Torment” is brilliant, in your face chainsaw obliteration, before dropping the pace for the verse, returning to a blast that is blurring and brutal. Interestingly this tune has some semi-clean vocals which was totally unexpected but works well and doesn’t dilute the overall ethos of the album, leaving only closing song “Citadel Of The Living Dead” to leave a lasting impact, which it does with a snare march introduction and some deft drum fill work. There’s blackened touch to this tune as the song rapidly transforms into a thrashy blast workout before slowing down a touch for what to me is a riff straight from old Sodom or some Brazilian thrash filth from many years ago. This is a strong debut and hints at what the next release could potentially deliver in terms of sheer hostility and dark embedded bitterness.

(8/10 Martin Harris)