Djinn and Miskatonic – Forever in the Realm

Achintya Venkatesh reviews the new album released by Djinn & Miskatonic titled Forever in the Realm, released via Transcending Obscurity India.

Djinn and MiskatonicArtwork by Nicolas Huck

Tracklisting
1. 7 Year Witch (11:37)
2. Book of the Fallen (08:37)
3. Vulcan’s Forge (04:54)
4. Voice from the Tomb (00:58)
5. Weird Tales (16:56)

Doom metal is a style that is still relatively foreign in the embryonic metal ‘scene’ and its enthusiasts in the subcontinent, and the past few years have seen the rise of a few bands playing around with the genre, which has at the very least brought to fore the existence and awareness of this slower side of extreme metal. This has always been overshadowed by the more dominant, velocity-fuelled side of things regardless of geographic location. Doom metal has trodden a variety of paths since its inception during the zenith of Black Sabbath and the then incipient Pentagram and similar bands, and has thereon gone onto spawn forth a variety of stylistic derivatives. While not all of these are congruent with the proto-type of the genre, perhaps the most obvious commonality all these aural offspring have is their lumbering pace and crushing minimalism. If Bevar Sea presented the more jammy, convivial side of Bangalore’s nascent doom/stoner movement (if one could call it that), and Dying Embrace the monstrous local overlords of the death/doom mould, then Djinn and Miskatonic present a more reticent, sedated and punctilious position that is more thematically focused and staid. The band name’s etymology is an open exaltation to their thematic inspirations, ranging from classic horror to weird fiction, à la H.P Lovecraft. The name is a play on the gin and tonic cocktail – djinn being the Qur’anic equivalent of genies and Miskatonic being a fictional university, featured in a series of stories in the Lovecraftian mythos.

Forever in the Realm’, the band’s debut album after being active for around two years as a live band, merges a variety of these styles into its creative mould – primarily traditional doom in the vein of Trouble and Saint Vitus with very healthy doses of more jammy, stoner influences – think Electric Wizard and Sleep, and even hints of death/doom and sludge metal. The introduction of a guitarist in the band in turn omitted the more drone-driven, spacey quality that the band previously exhibited, and this is certainly evident in the album. ‘7 Year Witch’ is the tone setter of this record and opens with a direfully commanding spoken word about the depravity that is witchcraft, and soon descends into an infectious riff that is rather standard by doom norms but enjoyable nevertheless. The vocal approach is something one immediately takes note of, and showcases a wide range of styles that cover everything from impassioned warbles to harsher growls. The leads are laden with striving lead work that is reminiscent of Dave Chandler or even Tony Iommi. The band drops a bombshell with a bombastic, groove-laden, thrashing segment that I’ve often observed is an additive to the dynamics of the band’s sound in a live setting, and it is no different on record. ‘Book of the Fallen’ brings to fore a more robust facet of the band – the pace is almost marching in a sense and the entire mode of action is far more menacing than foreboding. It certainly isn’t devoid of coercive doom segments, which have some excellent melodies that are complimented by befittingly clean vocals working in congruence with the aforementioned leads.

The track that follows, ‘Vulcan’s Force’ enters the realm of dark humour and surrounds alcoholic excesses and consequential contemplation on the futility of existence. The guitars take a step back and make way for more fuzz-driven, baritonal bass work. The ritualistic electronic/ambient track ‘Voice from the Tomb’ serves as an interlude of sorts that features undecipherable waves of spoken word from the deepest crypts. ‘Weird Tales’ is the goliathan track of the album and is in a sense a summation of the various elements that forms the Djinn and Miskatonic creative canvas, channeling the bizarre, abstruse and esoteric. Dismal, cheerless and creeping bass-lines bleed into guitar riff-led dawdling, with tempo changes and vocal modulation aplenty.

The charm of this release essentially lies in its sensibly primal minimalism. Axe-man Sriram K.R’s presence in the band has turned its sound into something less befogged and more monolithic, while Jayaprakash Satyamurthy’s bass work is likely to seem drowned out to the casual listener courtesy of the dominating guitars. However, a seasoned listener of the heavier side of music will quite easily be able to construe the bass-lines, which serve to illuminate and accentuate the riff in focus. A casual enthusiast need not fret apropos this nebulosity; as fuzzed out, solo bass guitar segments are ample which successfully throw light on this highly imperative instrumental facet of these droning-doomoid rockers. The bass work could perhaps be compared to the likes of Tim Bagshaw, who is known to alternate between bone-crushing dirges and spaced out, yet jammy elegies. The guitar tone is satisfactory, and is sufficient to please the seasoned doomster, while not scaring away the casual listener either. Siddharth Manoharan’s percussive dexterity is solid and handles tempo changes with ease, and certainly brings in some enjoyable grooves and fills into the compositions. Gautham Khandige’s vocal style is rather unique, at least going by the little knowledge I possess of the genre, and invokes sonorous theatrics, aural timidity and harshness at desirable and appropriately opportune times. If a comparison is a must, I would liken his vocal approach to the likes of, say, Scott Reagers, who had excellent operatic/clean vocal abilities and yet had an enjoyable dissonance to his voice that made Saint Vitus all the more unusual and noteworthy. Yet at times, the more harsh vocals are eerily similar to Lee Dorrian of Cathedral (circa Forest of Equilibrium era).

The cover artwork, conceptualized and furnished by Nicolas Huck is impressive, and envisages a sense of otherworldly allure and fantasy. In summation, ‘Forever in the Realm’ is an effort that certainly impressions upon one, and is unique in a variety of ways, although it doesn’t impart anything very groundbreaking stylistically sans the welding of the various sub-genres of the greater doom sphere. But it would be unfair to view it purely from a genre-specific angle, and one should take into account the demographics of the band’s local scene, and in that light the band is certainly a unique force, and is hopefully one of many such releases from the area.

Anagnorisis – Beyond All Light

Achintya Venkatesh reviews the new album from Anagnorisis self-release titled Beyond All Light.

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Tracklisting

1. Eulerian Path (7:38)

2. This Cursed Blood (5:53)

3. Death Mimics Life (9:31)

4. Abyss (6:36)

5. Bountiful Goddess Life (7:36)

6. Forever Night (9:16)

The etymological origins of bands is not something a casual listener often delves into, but with a name as unique as Anagnorisis, one cannot help but satiate the inquisitiveness that one is immediately afflicted by when stumbling upon the obscure. Anagnorisis (ἀναγνώρισις) describes that moment in a play or other non rhythmic work of literature when a key character makes a critical discovery of sorts, or reaches a point of realization pertaining to something imperative to the individual’s existence, and may have several implications on the same person’s continuance. The Aristotelian school of thought on the concept of tragedy alludes the term as a protagonist’s sudden awareness of an absolute situation, often in relation to an antagonist in the very same storyline, serving as a manoeuvre that serves to shift the tale in a redolent direction. Let’s ignore the usual clichés that one generally expresses when dealing with bands from locations that are incongruent with their stylistic preference – art is art and at the end of the day should ideally appeal to people from all walks of life, so geographic location and ethnic ties are rather trivial apropos artistic appeal. I merely mention this in light of the fact that an extreme metal band based out of Kentucky, Louisville evidently comes as a surprise to many, but the very point of such music is to achieve that little piece of transcendence.

The band has been christened a ‘modern’ black metal act with a smattering of death metal elements that  are apparent in their sonic canvas, but such labels really only serve to feed the listener’s preconceptions as opposed to serving as effective and moreover, helpful labels o the music. The album’s opener, ‘Eulerian Path’ blends the audile theatrics of grandeur and foreboding atmospherics amidst velocity-driven tremolo picking and blast beats with tastefully placed, slower, more rhythm-driven segments which add to the dynamic of the track. ‘This Cursed Blood’ is a straightforward black metal number in the vein of Thorns, and is for the most part centred around vociferous aggression with polyrhythms galore that evoke a certain enjoyable familiarity for the seasoned black metal fan. Segments featuring spiralling leads and cabalistic leads certainly hint at faint references to the death metal side of things. The intense sampled section in the middle of the song featuring only vocals effectively juxtaposes itself with the more chaotic segments of the song, although the turn the vocals took towards the end could’ve well been avoided. ‘Death Mimics Life’ lumbers in comparison and is a more composed composition, engrossing one with bountiful tempo changes. Readily discernible, almost traditional metal-driven leads make their appearance in the thick of a barrage of dexterously executed double-bass chops.

Stream the entire album here:

The other half of the album opens with ‘Abyss’, which could be thought of as an interlude of sorts that dabbles with an almost apocalyptic atmosphere. Unconventionality has been the ethos that the genre has stood by since its inception and thus this number has no apparent song structure, which is precisely why it manages to be a uniquely elegiac and somber dirge. The mournful howls atop tastefully restrained and cultivated instrumentation make this the stand out track on the album. ‘Bountiful Goddess Life’ invokes the likes of early Emperor and perhaps even Enslaved, exquisitely executed with appropriate doses of symphonic dramatism that adroitly evades the descending of the composition into a cheese-fest. The acoustic segment of this song is excellent and elicits an introspective mood, and also serves as a build up towards comparatively subdued, more mid-tempo, funereal segments that close the song. The closer of the latter half of the album, ‘Forever Night’ is a testament to the versatility of the band – a melancholic introduction that descends into a polyrhythm-driven bombardment of almost anthemic riffs, which is met by refined symphonic sections along the way on this epic sonic journey, with the percussive diversity serving as the backbone for this ambitious composition.

The vocals are satisfactorily strident and showcase moments that add to the atmospheric nature of the tracks amidst the blizzard of riffs and relentless percussion. The versatility of the guitar work should not go unappreciated, and presents moments of sheer illumination, solely due to excellently selected rhythms that compliment the symphonic sensibilities of the composition in a magnificent manner, as does the percussive congruence with the aforementioned elements. The keyboard work introduces a refined element to the walls of sound presented by the band, and are brought to the fore during fitting moments, especially on the second half of the album. This is by no means a conventional symphonic extreme metal album, and the elements that could mistakenly be deemed such are more subtle in nature, and serve to orchestrate the various elements of the band’s creative canvas. Lastly, the production is somewhat fuzzy but reinforces the monolithic and epic nature of this musical endeavour, and thankfully, is not aurally abhorrent.

Despite the rather clichéd album name, that is, dare I say, a shoddy attempt at summing up this bleak and misanthropic effort, the music is extremely solid and very effectively lives up to its lofty name, but the degree of memorability this album presents might be subject to the listener’s stylistic preferences and orientations. I’d certainly suggest this release for enthusiasts who enjoy Anaal Nathrakh, Wolves in the Throne Room, Judas Iscariot or even Liturgy (this album did have vaguely post-rock references, might I add) and Septic Flesh. I highly doubt, however, that ‘Beyond All Light’ at the very least, will fail to impression even the most casual listener.

Preludium – Impending Hostility

Achintya Venkatesh reviews the new album from Preludium titled Impending Hostility, released via Transcending Obscurity.

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Humanity’s fascination with war is nothing short of confounding – destructive and degenerating in actuality, but war has somehow wound up as one of the most prominent themes of the creative canvas of various art forms. This fascination is almost macabre, given the cadaverous nature of war, but it also seems to serve as a point of transcendence – the mindless slaughter and carrion that war is riddled also goes hand in hand with the bravado, glory, manhood and noble sacrifice associated with war – in effect, war is nothing short of paradoxical. Luridity and heroism are both romanticized in war, making it an all the more powerful subject. The genre of heavy metal, which has in modernity continued to serve as the bombastic bastion of alternative thinking served with a good dose of rebellion, hasn’t been too far behind as far as the thematic obsession with war is concerned. Bands like the pacifist-driven thrash veterans and extreme metal forefathers Sodom, to the British old school death metal legends Bolt Thrower and even more recent projects like Hail of Bullets have all incorporated war as the backdrop for their music. Preludium is Mielec-based band that continues this legacy in metal – this infatuation with war, a phenomenon that their homeland has been subject to through the ages. One would think upon first inspection of the band that being a blackened death metal seems to be a national cliché of sorts for Polish bands. So, does Preludium distinguish itself from a sea of stylistic clones? Read on.

‘Legacy of Destinations’, the opening track of the album immediately establishes the atmosphere of the album, opening with a pacing drum beat similar to the war beats upon which soldiers march, after which the band soon descends into a frenzied orchestration of mayhem and wreckage. The riff-work here is certainly biased towards more death metal styled tremolo riffs, and one is immediately impressed by the intense precision of drummer Piotr Ungeheuer. ‘Realm of Void’ is an experience comprising of sheer speed and intensity through and through. ‘Desolation’ is a brief and to-the-point track with some excellent usage of groove-driven, engaging harmonic pinches. ‘Hostile Area’ brings to the fore the more blackened quality of their music in comparison to the tracks that precede it with some excellent soloing to boot.  The band seem to have mastered the art of track placement, given that ‘Bitter Cold’ is just the right break from the relentlessness of the rest of the album, with the plodding doom it presents the listener, alongside melancholic leads atop bludgeoning riffs and double-bass work that invoke some sort of bizarrely tight savageness.

‘Blessing of War’ is a solid slab of definitive audile decimation with some passages that are direct nods to the likes of Bolt Thrower and fellow countrymen Vader. ‘Death Campaign’ is in a similar vein with some impressive drum fills and appropriate doses of melody that project the hardships of war to the listener. ‘Execution’ is a bit of a filler track in comparison, but the excellent closing instrumental track ‘Warfare’ saves face after a rather generic preceding track. The track paints a picture of war-ravaged soldiers reliving the drudgeries and horrors that characterizes war in itself. The hints of melody at times remind one of Desultory, but the band’s uniqueness is not lost, courtesy of the heavy grooves and mid-tempo, marching percussive quality of the drums.

The production is crystal clear, and the sound samples chosen are tasteful and only serve to reinforce the atmosphere of war – such as the sounds of blowing wind in the beginning of the album, in effect creating a bleak atmosphere, or the hair-raising, fearsome sounds of explosion. Of course the highlight is the sheer carnage that is portrayed by the instrumentation, from the ferocious guitars to the blast beats, as well as a good measure of tempo changes. The vocals lean on the death metal side of things, although certain tracks certainly show case black-metal oriented shrieks and rasps. In light of the same, the well paced tracks dispel any notions of monotony, that the listener may well feel initially. Łukasz Dziamarski and his soldiers have created a solid slab of blackened death metal with this album that manages to distinguish itself a fair degree from legions of bands in its genre. Kudos to Transcending Obscurity for roping in the band, as well as invigorating the local Indian metal scene by serving as one of the premier extreme metal labels in the nation. The release doesn’t particularly bring anything new to the table in terms of stylistic growth or innovation, but its precision and tightness is nothing short of invigorating.

Hypnosia – Horror Infernal (Compilation)

This is our first ever compilation review and sometimes compilations are better than single albums. Achintya Venkatesh talks about the latest compilation from Hypnosia titled Horror Infernal, released via I Hate Records.

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   Tracklisting

  1. Crushed Existence 03:22
  2. Threshold of Decay 02:46
  3. Undead 03:49
  4. Paralyzed by Persecution 03:19
  5. The Last Remains 02:49
  6. Operation Clean Sweep 03:57
  7. The Storms of Dead Worlds 03:14
  8. Funeral Cross 00:36
  9. Haunting Death 03:59
  10. Undead 03:40
  11. Perpetual Dormancy 03:45
  12. Mental Terror 02:06
  13. The Storms 03:05
  14. Outbreak of Evil (Sodom cover) 02:34
  15. My Belief (Possessed cover) 03:23
  16. Haunting Death (Live) 03:45

Växjö-based thrash metallers Hypnosia’s career span was indeed very much like the music they presented. With its genuinely no-bullshit approach, like a whirlwind that has hit you and gone you before you even realized what precisely happened, their releases created quite the furore in the underground, especially considering that they played a non-normative style of music at a time when it was considered passé, old-hat and non-trendy in a music industry swamped by the trend known as grunge. Thrash metal had taken a back seat and was merely a shadow of its glory days in the decade that preceded the time, but these Swedish war-mongers released a slew of pulverizing releases amidst an environment that was dominated by in-vogue grunge in the mainstream and extreme metal in the metal underground. Before they could be touted as the next big act, with merely a single studio album to their name, they decided to call it a day in 2002 and disbanded. Horror Infernal is a commemoration and in a sense, a remembrance of these forgotten underground heroes.

The opening track, ‘Crushed Existence’, from their rather successful 1996 demo of the same name is a straight-forward, speed-driven thrash metal number. Vocalist Cab Castervall sounds a great deal like Mille Petrozza of Kreator in its early days, albeit less dramatic in his vocal approach – think more Endless Pain as opposed to Pleasure to Kill. The next few tracks are also from the very same demo. ‘Threshold of Decay’ has a comparatively slower pace, and also features some lower growls as opposed to the regular screechy, raspy screams – much like Tom Angelripper’s effortless alternation between raspy chants and lower growls in a number of Sodom’s releases. ‘Undead’ is a more diverse track alternating between velocity-driven parts and slower, groovier, percussive segments, with ‘Paralyzed by Persecution’ being in a very similar vein. The compilation thereon moves onto The Storms demo, released in 1997. It doesn’t take long to realize the comparatively murkier nature of the production of this release as well as the shift in tuning. The three tracks here – ‘The Last Remains’, ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ and ‘The Storm of Dead Worlds’ are all very brief tracks, but very crushing with their back-to-basics, aggressive and minimalistic approach.

We thereon move onto their 1999 EP, Violent Intensity which begins with an intro titled ‘Funeral Cross’ that directly bleeds into the overwhelmingly fast and pulverizing ‘Haunting Death’. It is rather apparent that Hypnosia have upped the intensity at this point of their career, while at the same time gaining further adeptness in the technicality department, in effect making things more dynamic while retaining their basic thrash-tasting aural onslaught. The next track is a higher-tuned version of ‘Undead’, shifting from the demo’s lower C♯ tuning to a standard tuning and in fact sounds far more wrathful than the demo version that preceded it. ‘Perpetual Dormancy’ showcases some interesting rhythmic interplay between the guitars and the drums – amidst the chaotic speed, the band seems to almost charter into the territory of syncopation at times, and only further reinforces the raging and incensed mood of the song. ‘Mental Terror’ could’ve well been on Terrible Certainty and truly evokes mid/late 80’s Kreator – furious thrash metal embedded with dabbling in more mature, technically-oriented musicianship. ‘The Storms’ further continues this theme – adrenaline-fuelled thrash with a good measure of instrumental complexity and ingenuity, coupled with some well executed tempo changes.

There also two kickass covers on this compilation – ‘Outbreak of Evil’ by Sodom and ‘My Belief’ by Possessed. The first cover truly hits the spot and show-cases where exactly the band is coming from in terms of their sound. It simply rips. The Possessed cover is one of the slower numbers of the seminal death metal forefathers, but is also well executed nevertheless.

If speed-driven death metal tinged thrash metal is your drug, Hypnosia is certainly the to-go dealer. I can only imagine what a great band they must have been in their local scene, and should’ve made for a blistering live act, which the last track, a live rendition of ‘Haunting Death’ perfectly reflects. However, one often approaches bands that hail from an era that post-dates thrash metal’s zenith with a great amount of scepticism, being uncertain as to how successful the band in question is in avoiding the commonplace phenomenon of bands simply being rehash acts indulging heavily in sonic necromania. But the end result is rather positive, and Hypnosia presents a brand of thrash metal which exhibits the characteristics that has come to define the genre, namely velocity-driven, unrelenting ferocity and ruthlessness in the vein of Sadus, early Kreator/Sodom and Morbid Saint, while maintaining a fairly distinctive sound to their name. The production has also been well handled and the quality of the production is fairly congruous across the songs despite having originally been on different demos and EPs. This compilation is a must have for any self respecting thrash metal enthusiast, and should be of special interest to any heavy music enthusiast considering all of the songs precede the incessantly derivative retro-thrash metal movement that post-dates Hypnosia’s dissolution. Hypnosia will certainly be one of the bands in the ages to come that will be referred to in any discussion pertaining to the realm of death/thrash metal.

Stream the entire compilation below:

 

Deathstorm – As Death Awakes

Achintya Venkatesh reviews the debut full length from Deathstorm titled As Death Awakes, released via I Hate Records.

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Tracklist:
01. Awakening Of The Dead
02. Red Blood Spillage
03. Prepare For The Slaughter
04. Await The Edged Blades
05. Nihilistic Delusion
06. Visions Of Death
07. Nebelhexe
08. Rest

As Death Awakens is one of the first physical promotional copies that I’ve gotten the opportunity to review, and was thus obviously looking forward to finally reviewing an album by listening to the actual disc itself, as opposed to promotional mp3 copies of the same, courtesy the organic sound of a CD as opposed to digital copies. The album art-work gives a somewhat misleading impression of what awaits one in the album, essentially evoking an ethereal, otherworldly and surrealistic imagery; much in contrast with the sonic quality that the actual music of the album presents. What one faces upon listening to the album is a barrage of speed and ferocity. The first few riffs of the album capture your attention, and that immediate connect to an album is of prime importance to any listener, whether subconsciously or consciously. Deathstorm are a thrash-metal band from Styria, Austria who’ve been around since 2007 as Damage. They went onto rename themselves in 2011, released and EP and a split before unleashing this deathrashing bombardment upon the various enthusiasts that have taken the calculated risk of getting their ears chopped off.

Kicking off with a recording which speaks of the opening of the gates of hell, ‘Awakening of the Dead’ is an appropriate start to the album and is an ostentatious announcement to the listener that the gates of hell have in fact opened. This opening track exemplifies demented relentlessness – the guitar work evokes a Teutonic thrash metal style with a smattering of Bay-Area influences – in a sense a meeting of early Kreator, Morbid Saint and Slayer circa Show no Mercy-era up a few notches, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. ‘Red Blood Spillage’ is less chaotic in comparison, starting out mid-paced, and thereon losing itself in a frenzied manner, balancing itself out with slower passages, with one of these segments featuring a repeated spiralling riff eerily reminiscent of ‘Satanic Lust’ by Sarcofago. Speed is the primary facet of this album, and ‘Prepare for Slaughter’ is a testament to the same. ‘Await the Edges Blade’ is where things get interesting. While the previous tracks go straight for the kill, this song features a build up which one might find familiar on a subconscious level, but enjoyable nevertheless. This in turn leads onto a mid-tempo prelude with some interesting interplay between the bass guitar and drums. Marco ‘Mac’ Stebich’s bass work does remind one of Anthrax’s Frank Bello circa Fistful of Metal (1984). The rest of the track is standard thrash fare with some interesting, high-intensity guitar work in the vein of Sodom’s Persecution Mania, albeit much faster and fiercer.

Nihilistic Delusions’, with its speed-driven delirium and grinding nature of the guitar work coupled with the tortured, screechy chants truly reminds one of Morbid Saint’s Spectrum of Death in terms of how truly violent the music is sonically. The track balances the crushing, venomous thrash segments with a mid-paced break with some excellent and vaguely melodic leads that help to layer the music as opposed to serving simply as a platform to showcase the members’ technical adeptness, a trap which numerous bands fall into. While the rest of the album’s solos have an dissonant approach that evokes the likes of Kerry King and Mille Petrozza in the early era of Kreator, guitarist Ferl exhibits far more control over the notes he hits on this track, while retaining a degree of atonality to prevent things from cheesing itself up. ‘Visions of Death’ brings further prominence to the said lead work, alongside explosive, percussive rhythm work, and blistering solos to boot. The instrumental ‘Nebelhexe’ is a gratifying listen of sorts amidst the audile pulverization present on the rest of the album, and features some interesting percussive interplay. The closer track, ‘Rest’, appropriately named, alternates between slow segments featuring glum, lugubrious guitar harmonies and regular death/thrash riffs and makes for a more than decent album closer.

This album wholeheartedly bows at the altar of bands that formed the bridging gap between the then in-vogue thrash metal sound of the early 1980’s and the incipient death metal styles that would derive largely from it. An era where the distinction between the two was hazy and poorly defined, added to this the incensed and rabid nature of the music, which didn’t exactly help to provide the slightest of scope for highbrow discussion on the trivialities of stylistic division and distinction. Fans of Sodom, Hypnosia, Sadus, Kreator, Slayer and Morbid Saint will be hooked onto this record in an instant. Moreover, this album is certainly a good break from the typical alcohol, party, zombie, biker and crossover-driven retro-thrash metal style that seems to plague the retro-metal scene, or even the more infernal, blasphemous and violence-driven bands a la Suicidal Angels and Bywar. The guitar work is ferocious, the bass plods along with the guitars and drummer Mani is nothing short of vicious and hostile on the kit. Atop this madness, Stebich’s vocals only serve to intensify this maniacal orchestration, sounding like the gustative bastard child of Mille Petrozza and Patrick Lind. In conclusion, Deathstorm smartly draws its fuel from a variety of influences within the same broader sub-genre as opposed to riding off their love for a specific influence, and thus fall short of becoming entirely derivative. This is an immensely enjoyable album, although there’s certainly room for Deathstorm to undergo further stylistic evolution and truly make their mark in a scene filled to the brim with rehashes and blatant rip-offs.