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Deathcrush – Under Serpents Reign Award winner

Deathcrush
Under Serpents Reign
by Oli Gonzalez at 20 June 2022, 5:13 AM

Spawning from the depths of Italy, DEATHCRUSH describe themselves as simply ‘Furious Death Musik Since 2003’ (yes that’s how they spell music on their Facebook page). They have compiled a discography of 3 full length albums, which suggests to me that they’re a band that don’t do things by half, and like to take their time. No need for fancy or slick description. Just let the music do the talking. From their promotional pictures, I’m thinking there’s going to be a military theme to their music. Something for me that’s slowly becoming a cliche, so hopefully DEATHCRUSH pull this off.

“Apocalypse Of The Fallen Empire”, the album’s prelude, sets the mood perfectly. Calm soothing yet haunting Gregorian monk chants, with the subtle sounds of machine gun fire in the background, providing that military theme. The guitar overlays slowly fade into the music and gradually increase in volume and overall intensity. As far as intros go, this haven’t done the job!

“Beheading Jehovah Prophet”. Holy moly, they didn’t come here to play! Despite being a three piece, they’ve certainly created a full and in your face sound, and this has been mixed to near perfection! The subtle synth in the background gives that illusion of fullness and fills out the mix. I’m getting a SEPTIC FLESH and HOUR OF PENANCE vibe and would recommend fans of these to check this song out. There’s honestly so much to admire in this song! That momentum continues into “Under Serpents Reign”. I can definitely see that DEATHCRUSH are playing by their own rules here and have created a death metal work of art truly in their own vision! No cliché verse-chorus song structures, I can really admire the progressive elements. They can seamlessly switch between crushing grooves and mindblowing blast beats too.

“No Heaven Awaits” starts off as an utter sludge fest! Throughout the song, there are some downright painful grooves. This is not pretty, nor for the faint of heart! I had to crank up the volume to full on my headset! I particularly enjoy how Luigi will often sit back from vocal duties and allow the music to tell the story. The inclusion of soprano operatic vocals in the latter stages of the song is a welcome addition too, to add that heightened sense of drama. “I am lucifer, the devil and the flesh”. If they were trying to send my heart rate into overdrive, they achieved that! That brief voice over to “Daemonology - Symphonies Of The Devil” was down right terrifying! The rest of the song is much shorter but no less hard hitting groove laden death metal masterpiece, one where you truly have to admire Gampiero’s skills behind the kit! Especially with the double time blastbeats firing away in the background, in direct contrast to the slower bludgeoning guitar riffs, like an unholy marriage.

A lot of what I said there can be said about “Thy Sovereign. However, during the last 40 seconds or so…well, this is by the far the most intense and heaviest breakdown in the album so far. Sometimes you’ve just gotta go back to basics and hammer the open notes on the top string as hard as you can to create that almighty breakdown! They pull this off, mercilessly! “Deathmarch To Obscurity” is a very brief yet much needed instrumental interlude. A darkened duet of distorted piano and tremolo picked guitar overlays, this creates a much creepier and eerie vibe than the rest of the songs have done so far. It makes me think that not only are the group talented instrumentalists but they’re also extremely talented song writers demonstrating an intricate knowledge of human psychology.

At this stage, I was ready for a much faster black metal inspired song, one where mind blowing speed and blast beats are the order of the day. That’s exactly what I got in the opening to “Black Thelema”. They didn’t want to give me too much of a good thing and incorporated what’s becoming their trademark, tried and tested groove patterns. I wasn’t ready for the acoustic guitar interlude right in the middle of the song though! Where did that come from? The pace of the song slows to a glacial drip, and the soothing calm strings take centre stage, something prog metal masters OPETH would incorporate. This was all a tactical ploy, to lure you into a false sense of security, just so they can hit you with their hardest and fastest riffs for the final minute of the song! Again, intricate understanding of human psychology and exceptional song writing.

“Wolfskull” and “From Servant To Warfare” are two of the more experimental songs on the album, and contain progressive elements. Whether it’s the non-standard structures, use of acoustic string interludes, call and response vocals, this definitely has that progressive death metal edge. Then sadly, its all over. I’ve probably fanboyed enough over this band, so I’ll leave it plain and it simple. This album is amazing! Just listen to it. You’ll thank me.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Apocalypse Of The Fallen Empire
2. Beheading Jehovah Prophet
3. Under Serpents Reign
4. No Heaven Awaits
5. Daemonology - Symphonies Of The Devil
6. Thy Sovereign
7. Deathmarch To Obscurity
8. Black Thelema
9. Wolfskull
10. From Servant To Warfare
Lineup:
Gampiero – Drums
Andrea – Guitars
Luigi – Bass/vocals
Record Label: Time To Kill Records
     


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