It’s very unusual for most French acts to stick to the norm when writing and recording albums as this deadly death metal outfit sticks to core credentials of the genre resolutely, without treading familiar ground. Indeed this band owes large quotients of their sound and song writing structure to that much revered scene of the late 80s and early 90s in Florida, particularly the Morrisound Studios production that was much sought after by the cleaner death metal acts around this time.

Listening to this album stalwart death metal fans like myself could hear various riffing snippets that sounded familiar but when digested fully are actually the bands own take on the scene as this monster release begins with the juggernaut demolition of “Slaves Of The Sacred Rites”. The intrinsic catchiness is borne out by the riffing and excellent drum work which boasts rife double bass muscularity coupled to incendiary blast beats and whilst the song opts for a slower more pulverising approach the same cannot be said of the follower “A Wall”. The brief wind swept intro section is banished as an afterthought when the cool double bass smashes in and immediately the groove suggests Deicide whereas the battering double kick blasting is Cannibal Corpse like.

“Akatheeb” continues the sonic beating as the drums utilise the violence of the riffing to temper each with waves of blast beating savagery with thundering kick drum devastation as by now the Floridian death metal bands come flooding into your memory, this time with Malevolent Creation. Slower but heavier “Rip” prefers to produce a seismic shift on the sound as the songs speedier components are embedded into the riffing. I’m pretty certain most people will bellow Amon Amarth for the opening riff to “The Sin’s Cost” where a sweeping kick drum pours into the track linked to the very cool riff as by now that head will be swirling around in unison to the beat of the song.

Adding a semi acoustic opening phase, “Fateful Rite” has a superb riff splattered with a Middle Eastern flavour before channelling down guttural brutality. Again the bands use of catchy riffing is plain to hear on all the tracks as “The Human Shrine” takes the speed down a notch initially before ramping it back up again in waves of permeating violence. There are strong hints of Death peppered throughout the release too but none more so than “A Bunch Of Bones” where the songs infectious hook laden structuring is a joy to hear.

Closing this fantastic album is the longer “An Impetuous Choice” an engrossing amalgamation of pulverising drums and more Death inspired riffery. The fluidised tempo shifts are delivered with cohesion as are the more subtle elements of quieter purpose, as the chugging riffs hammer down before the obliterating blast section which you know is inevitable but is still excellently placed all the same. The riffs ooze from the song like tendrils of grotesquery, ensnaring the listener in an eerie almost macabre aura that I particularly liked, on an album I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.

(9/10 Martin Harris)