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The Chronicles Of Satan

Self-released (2017)
Rating: 7/10

Wow! What a gnarly noisefest this is; a gritty cacophony created by two psychopaths, namely Marko Kotilainen and Chris Goldsmith out of Stockholm in Sweden. The Chronicles Of Satan is a fiery, aggressive lump of modern death metal, with enough anger, weight and power served up here to please many.

This debut album runs for over an hour and offers up 13 grinding, hammering, grunting ear spankers constructed around the vociferous vocals of Chris Goldsmith, who previously had expressed his extremity with the likes of Scarpoint. This is some seriously heavy shit, and sounds oddly refreshing considering that the death metal genre pretty much ran its course in the mid-to-late 90s – but this is one helluva furious ride.

These guys certainly have a strong Swedish influence. That of course would be obvious, but there’s also a lot of groove metal ideology within the framework of contemporary death metal design. But that’s not to say that this is a polished affair, far from it. In fact, it’s one of the most aggressive, belligerent and destructive records I’ve heard for a few years.

The twin guitar attack from the off just batters one senseless as ‘Rotten Corpse’ and ‘The Only One’ literally rumble with menace. But within that pounding noise there are blackened death metal patches of abrasive quality; evil barking threats and occasional flirts with brief, sinister interludes. Somehow the duo is more than capable of expressing such hostility and not within short, sharp bursts, but by creating tracks that run for a decent length of time, with most clocking in at four to six minutes.

The main foundation is that hellish, grinding guitar sound which is most certainly of Swedish design. It’s not as loose as what some might imagine, but it’s still unrelenting, only slower for occasional melodic chugs, although there’s never any let up with the brutality. The vocals seem to get deeper and more guttural with each passing track, whether in the form of the chainsaw charade that is ‘Speak Death’, the scathing drudgery of ‘The Arrival’, the deep scarring groove metal of ‘I Am Death Kill’ and ‘I’m The Reason’.

To be honest, it’s almost as if Pantera have served up a death metal opus except with far greater, passionate and, above all, faster pugnaciousness. It just never lets up, the only issue at times being what I assume are programmed drums which suffer on the volatile ‘No Escape’, which for all its harshness seems somehow out of place; maybe this is simply down to the production values or the copy I’ve heard? The same could also be said for the thrashing namesake track ‘Killbrain’, but it’s still nasty, unyielding stuff, and so persistent in its antagonism of everything and anything.

Due to the amount of songs on offer, there are times that The Chronicles Of Satan becomes a tad generic, with some tracks seemingly melting into one another. However, you can’t fault the pummelling. Also, I’m not quite sure if the sound within matches the cover art, but that’s a minor criticism of what is essentially a crisp, surging and at times devastating piece of work.

Neil Arnold

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