I thought I’d give a punt out to Berzerker Legion, which as it turns out is a bit of a death metal “supergroup” of sorts. Starring Fred Isaksson (Dark Funeral) – Bass, Tomas Elofsson (Hypocrisy – live) on guitars with Alwin Zuur (Asphyx), Jonny Pettersson (Wombbath, Henry Kane and about 400 other bands) on vocals, with the mighty machine that is James Stewart (Vader, Bloodshot Dawn, Decapitated – live) on drums. It’s a pretty damn special line up, so I was really excited to find out what “Obliterate the Weak” would sound like.
To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting what I got. “Obliterate the Weak”, while undeniably a really heavy metal album, isn’t anywhere near as brutal as either the band name or the album title might suggest. What it is though is horrendously, infectiously catchy. I’d listened to the collection a couple of times, and no more, when I realised that I was humming the main hook to “Of Blood and Ash” to myself at work. Seriously. This album is a heavy, modern death metal album…but it carries so many memorable melodies that while I wouldn’t call it a melodic death metal album, it certainly has more of the Amon Amarth school of song writing than anything else.
The tone of the album is absolutely immense. I have to give hats off to the production, because when these guitars crunch – well, it’s the kind of all-enveloping deep heaviness that only acts like Bolt Thrower have really managed to capture before. If the opening strains of the title track don’t have you involuntarily head banging, then I’d say that you need to get yourself checked out. This album has so many belting, instant-appeal tracks that I also have to very strongly commend the song-writing. With a band as experienced and accomplished, there isn’t any one aspect that lets the side down.
Do I have any complaints? No, not really. I would say that perhaps the only concern I have is that although “Obliterate the Weak” is a really top-notch album, I wonder how much depth there is to the song writing. I’ve had it on very heavy rotation for the last three weeks, and while there is no shortage of ragers on here, I look forward to the over-six minutes sprawl of “King of All Masters” to add some variety. It’s slower, a little more complex and demanding than some of the other tracks. That being said, I also look forward to the faster, more furious tracks such as the closer “Death Euphoria” (complete with cheeky drum-intro nod to Slayer classic “Necrophobic”), and the goddamn CHUGGA-CHUGGA-CHUUUUUUUG none-more-heavy guitar attack.
Well written, well produced, well played and well…bloody good. This is essentially the most listenable, heavy and accessible death metal album I’ve heard in an absolute age. I also bet this material will slay live. Catch this before they get HUGE.
(9/10 Chris Davison)