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Memoriam – To The End Award winner

Memoriam
To The End
by Thomas Kumke at 22 April 2021, 11:35 PM

MEMORIAM hailing from Birmingham, UK were formed in 2016. They are a Death Metal band and were initially meant as a tribute to the late BOLT THROWER drummer Martin Kearns. Karl Willetts (ex-BOLT THROWER), Scott Farifax (BENEDICTION, MASSACRE), Spikey Smith and Frank Healy (both SACRILEGE) deliver meanwhile their 4th full-length album with exception of Spikey Smith who just replaced Andy Whale on the drums. It was recorded and produced at Parlour Studios at Kettering, UK and released via German label Reaper Entertainment which is no stranger to releasing Metal albums of every genre. The album has a length of almost 45 minutes.

To The End” has a very strong and chilling start: super heavy guitar riffs supported by catchy lead guitar sequences and double-bass drums, all played at a stomping head-banging rhythm. “Onwards Into Battle” is a typical MEMORIAM song and comparisons to the member’s former bands are inevitable, which is a good thing since it stands for good traditional British Death Metal. The song was released as lyric video and the YouTube link is given below. “The War Is Won” is one of those faster songs on the album with aggressive guitar riffing driving the song forward. The mid-tempo break has another catchy head-banging sequence and includes crunching bass lines as well as a great contributing lead guitar solo. The lead guitar contribution mix the sound a bit up on “The War Is Won” as well as on “No Effect”. “No Effect” is actually quite similar to “The War Is Won” in the sense that the main element is the relentlessly driving guitar riffing.

Failure To Comply” is somehow different especially regarding the song structure while the lyrics deal with the Black Lives Matter protests from last year: “Resist Refuse Protest/When justice is repressed/Provoked engaged oppressed/The anger must be heard/…../Violence proliferates as the cities burn/Lessons from the past when we will ever learn/”. The sound gets dark and gloomy with “Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)” and the title song “To The End”. Especially “Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)” is slow and doom-laden, reminding me a bit on early PARADISE LOST material. Karl Willetts vocals fit here perfectly and his harsh voice brings out the best of the song. “To The End” has a similarly slow and gloomy start but transitions into mid-tempo for most of the time. The guitar riffing is again dark, super heavy and intensified through the MEMORIAM typical lead guitar sequences. The sound is here again perfectly suited for Karl Willetts vocals.

The final third of the album has with “Vacant Stare” another highlight for all head-bangers, a song with a catchy and groovy rhythm and perhaps an upcoming fan favorite at live shows. Opposite to that, “Mass Psychosis” is very different and show MEMORIAM’s diversity in songwriting: complex in structure with distortions and twists, it includes industrial vibes and is not quite the traditional Death Metal song. Highlight is the crunching bass line of Frank Healy. “As My Heart Grows Cold” maintains the gloomy vibes of the preceding songs and has additionally a very strong and epic atmosphere driven by the lead guitars and the way Karl Willetts performs the vocals. An excellent way to finish a very strong album.

MEMORIAM deliver an excellent album in the tradition of British Death Metal. “To The End” has a great variety in sound and MEMORIAM continue to establish their very own Death Metal journey while comparisons to BOLT THROWER or BENEDICTION do no longer hold. The new album can fully keep up with the much acclaimed “Requiem For Mankind” and songs like “Mass Psychosis” and “As My Heart Grows Cold” are evidence of outstanding songwriting. The production of the album is very good throughout. “To The End” is an album that belongs into the collection of every Death Metal fan.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Onwards Into Battle
2. The War Is Won
3. No Effect
4. Failure To Comply
5. Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)
6. To The End
7. Vacant Stare
8. Mass Psychosis
9. As My Heart Grows Cold
Lineup:
Karl Willetts – Vocals
Scott Fairfax – Guitars
Spikey T. Smith – Drums
Frank Healy – Bass
Record Label: Reaper Entertainment
     


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