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Maceration - It Never Ends… Award winner

It Never Ends…
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 12 December 2022, 5:32 AM

Thirty years after their 1992 debut album, “A Serenade of Agony,” hit the death metal scene, Denmark based MACERATION return with their second full length album, “It Never Ends…”. The band was formed in 1990 by Rune Hansen, Lars Bangsholttz alongside INVOCATOR members Jakob Schultz & Jacob Hansen.  The man, the myth, the legend himself Dan Swanö provided vocals for the debut album and once again returns to the helm for this HM-2 beast of an album. As originators from the early Denmark scene, MACERATION may no longer be reinventing the wheel on “It Never Ends…” but they pick up right where things were left off.  Never ending indeed.  If the pulverisng grooves of old school death metal are your thing (as it should be) then the 38 minute run time will fly by and you’ll be hitting the repeat button the exact second the last note ends.

The mix and mastering from Swanö is, as expected, impeccable.  The album’s production is clean and loud (but not overly) yet is still able to capture the heavy violence of the style.  This is the magic of Swanö but he has another spell to provide:  death growls.  I’m pretty sure this is the first time he has recorded death growls since his EDGE OF SANITY/MOONTOWER days.  He sounds absolutely devastating—huge, deep, and cutthroat. Is this guy even human?  Of course, the other four members provide their own death metal symphony of destruction.  Jakob and Lars return as well—their riffs are in fine form.  Their guitar tone sounds old school as expected, providing that famous buzz saw sound.  The two can go from dismal and cold to sick and groovy in a second.  The songs are definitely riff based and that aspect never falters or becomes anything other than brutal but interesting death fucking metal.

Rasmus and Robert provide a strong rhythm section with drums and bass, respectively.  The double bass is especially robust, not unlike a train slamming into a car.  The snare is hard yet crisp and everything else just shines through as it accents the songs in the right way.  Robert’s bass is basically a hammer but also holds up the guitars while providing an experience all to its own. The album opens with “Lost In Depravity,” a song that begins ominously with light usage of keys before a deep growl and melodic riffs bursts through.  The bass keeps these early moments appreciatively dark and heavy while the drums bring it all together.  After a brief solo, the song moves full speed ahead.  The riffs and vocals work well together to prove death metal can be catchy as anything else.  I love when the song just suddenly stops for a few seconds of silence before doubling down on everything.  The melodies return later, perfectly introduced back in without a missed step.

The title track is immediately grooved up to the bones as the drums and bass help the short but sweet solo hammer itself into the fabric of the song.  All the little solos that are peppered throughout the song, and album, act as excellent bridges to the various pieces of the music without being intrusive.  At the 2:35 mark, the song enters a terrific jam section of just riff after riff.  The drumming is fantastic here and the bass encompassing the song with heavy tone to a high degree—this song is very dense yet has an open feel to it.  After hearing this song, I know the guys had a great time recording this album. Barely three minutes long, “A Sacrifice of Pity,” is one of the most straightforward and deafening songs on the album.  There isn’t any time wasted here—-the entire band is zeroed in on straight up old school death metal with little room for anything other than total evisceration.  Around the two minute mark, the song slows and settles into a doomy vibe—it fits into the faster parts perfectly.

On The Edge of Nothing,” also slows it down a step with huge, thick riffs that are nearly a wall of sound.  These riffs return around the three minute mark but being surrounded by faster notes, the song sounds like a crazy ride on the world’s deadliest roller coaster.  This song is sick as hell and one of my favorites on the album. The album ends with “Monolith of the Cursed,” which despite being under three minutes, is a very well rounded song that not only ends the album on a bang but also gives a great overview of the band’s sound.  The song squeezes in a couple of wild solos that heighten the atmosphere and provide the song with something to throw the riffs off from.

There have been a lot of metal “comeback” albums over the last couple years but this one may be the best I’ve heard.  If you were a fan of the first album and/or you love the sounds of old school death, there is absolutely no reason for this album not to provide you with the endless joy of death.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Lost in Depravity
2. Epiphany of the Past
3. Arcane Secrets
4. It Never Ends…
5. Engulfed in Agony
6. A Sacrifice of Pity
7. On the Edge of Nothing
8. Tender Twigs of Innocence
9. Monolith of the Cursed
Lars Bangsholt - Guitars
Jakob Schultz - Guitars
Robert Tengs - Bass
Rasmus Schmidt - Drums
Dan Swano - Vocals
Record Label: Emanzipation Productions


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