Typing Uppsala Sweden into one of those interweb image search things, results in photos of a lovely looking place, the sort of touristy spot to go on holiday perhaps? Dig deep however and you may find something completely rotten under that veneer of respectability. This is where the Metal Of Death legions kick up a veritable stink and Degial along with the likes of Invidious, Graveless et al are very much part of it. Of course others such as In Solitude and Watain are also tied very much in with things and Degial have shared stage members with the latter on numerous occasions too and are in many ways of a similar mind-set. Actually I have had both this and ‘Trident Wolf Eclipse’ on my review pile at the same time so it has been interesting to compare and contrast. Degial are a band I have been keeping an ear on since debut Death’s Striking Wings’ in 2012. I was also lucky enough to get up close and personal when they played a free gig in London last year and yep they certainly smelled a bit off at the time then too. When this their third album dropped in I was keen to hear how they had progressed.
Progress they have too, still sounding as old as veterans of the scene, so you don’t worry on that respect but the hooks, the skills of the players and the songs themselves have definitely taken a leap up in quality here. There is absolutely no fat to be trimmed in this concise 39 minute attack and as a guitar squeals into life over what sounds like pigs being slaughtered in an abattoir on the title track we are launched headlong into a rampant hell-ride that does little in the way of slacking off for the duration. Slimy riffs, battering drums and a black thrashing tumult pulverise and everything is rampant and in your face. This rages away with vocals keeping up and speeding as fast as the instruments. When things slow there is a rank odour oozing out and fans of Morbid Angel albums A-D will find plenty to salute here. They even declare a Savage Covenant by track title in tribute. The leads are impressive and tight, flailing away and peeling off with fire and filth flying as they scorch and burn with sulphurous intent. Despite the brutality this infects with plenty of melody which will keep drawing you back to it and being reeled in by the barbed hooks. Atmospheric booms and hideously elongated guitar lines shrilly bridge gaps from one song to the next ‘Crown Of Fire’ has a death belch and flies into some absolutely lethal grinding, winding riffs with the vocals growling out in a tar black fashion. There’s some drum rolls as other parts drop out, some technical flourishes and this one definitely makes one hell of a mark before ‘Devil Spawn’ rumbles slowly out and starts to crush. Death incarnate this is but there is a bit of a black venom to it all and this is a sound that should certainly unite fans of both styles. Sticking with Sweden there is a bit of Marduk about it at times, especially in the vocals and the frantic drumming salvos.
Songs are kept to precise lengths, never outstaying their welcome and as you would expect with a title like ‘Hellstorm’ expect to have your flesh seared off. Is there a message behind Heretical Repugnance?’ Well Repugnant did the heretical once Ghost was formed but I’m probably reading too much into things, if it’s a dig it’s a good one as is the song itself and the guitar solo in this one could easily cut a certain cleric’s head off from a good 1000 yards. Things climax with the longest song the slightly unwieldy titled ‘Clangor of Subjugation.’ One thing that is guaranteed is after giving you a good clang and clout you are going to be pressing play here again almost straight away.
Simply put if the old gods are letting you down, seek out the new ones, they won’t! Solid stuff. Another UK visit please?
(8/10 Pete Woods)