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Memoriam - The Silent Vigil Award winner

The Silent Vigil
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 18 March 2018, 2:04 PM

When BOLT THROWER announced their retirement in 2016, while understandable, was very much a sad day in Death Metal.  With such a legendary band gone, who could fill the gap? Can the gap be filled?  Should it?  The questions were answered in the form of their vocalist Karl Willets and his new band MEMORIAM.  After releasing their debut, “For The Fallen,” it was clear that although BOL THROWER is laid to rest, Karl and his team are alive and well.  With their second full length, “The Silent Vigil,” they further cement their place in Death Metal history.  Considering it is made up of BOLT THROWER and BENEDICTION members, it would be easy to continue in either style of those bands and reap the awards.  Instead, they use their pedigree and talent to forge new ground.

Although they are obviously comparable to BOLT THROWER, they are not trying to emulate past glories.  They aren’t quite as groovy and sometimes actually heavier.  Their themes are a bit more personal this time around and more in tune with today’s political climate. Karl Willet’s voice has obviously aged but not in a bad way. It doesn’t sound worse…it just sounds different and I would be willing to argue that it might even sound better.  The growl might not be as strong but it’s still there and it comes with this throaty rasp that really gives some immediacy to the lyrics. Opening track “Soulless Parasite,” is a banger with some heavy bass from Healy; he sounds like he is dropping the hammer as hard as he can.  WHALE, also from BOLT THROWER, backs him up with meaty double bass but doesn’t overdo it.

There is a nice groove within the riffs that work well with Willet’s own vocal assault.  The mid portion of the track is filled with the bass and guitar taking turns pulverizing and I just had a smile on my face the entire time the song was running.  A perfect opening track. ”From The Flames,” has such well played riffage that I couldn’t decide if I wanted to bang my head until it fell off or throw someone thru a window.  Willet’s vocals here are very potent as is Whale’s drums that compliments the riffs in between Willet’s lyrics. “As Bridges Burn,” has a very menacing tone and it reminds me the most of BOLT THROWER. If you miss that band then you need to hear this song, if nothing else.   The guitar solo perfectly bridges the gap between the song’s first, groovier half and the fast as hell second portion.  This song starts out as a bull dozer but ends up as a tank.  A monster of a track.

I also want to mention that the songs are long, with four of them going over six minutes. Normally, I prefer my Death Metal to be shorter but it’s a testament to MEMORIAM that the songs never get old and they breeze on past my ears as if they were much shorter. MEMORIAM’s second album honors and respects the past history of the genre while moving it forward.  The legends that play in the band are not done yet, with more still to say.  I look forward to listening to whatever they come up with next.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Souless Parasite
2. Nothing Remains
3. From The Flames
4. The Silent Vigil
5. Bleed The Same
6. As Bridges Burn
7. The New Dark Ages
8. No Known Grave
9. Weaponised Fear
Karl Willets – Vocals
Frank Healy – Bass
Scott Fairfax – Guitar
Andy Whale - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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