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Requiem For Us All

Pavement Music (2013)
Rating: 5.5/10

The strangely named The Modern Age Slavery is an Italian death metal band that combines grindcore elements with polished death metal values – I’m guessing some people will call this style of music “deathcore”?

This is very much a modern affair that relies heavily on those full-throttle drums, hyper guitar grinds and harsh bellows courtesy of frontman Giovanni Berselli. The main problem with this is that although it’s technically precise and often brutal, it completely lacks originality and for its relatively short duration (34 minutes) does nothing for this listener, hurtling by like some rabid, out of control dog whose bark is worse than its potentially fatal bite.

The Modern Age Slavery are accomplished musicians, there’s no doubt about that, and they shine first and foremost when tracks such as ‘Obedience’ are broken down; the drums and jarring guitars stand out, causing a fracture in the hyper-blast dynamics that saturate this opus. But for me it’s all a bit of a blur. ‘The Silent Death Of Cain’ and slightly slower ‘Ivory Cage’ reaches their maximum ear-splitting capacity, providing trigger-drum tech fests and unrestrained blast-beats, but differentiating them from another foetid bout of face-ripping in the form of ‘Opiate For The Masses’ is my problem.

Overall, Requiem For Us All is a rather formulaic affair, bogged down by the predictable extremity that seems to hinder so many of today’s reputedly hideous bands.

As expected, the production on this platter is of the highest quality, with every instrument leaping out from the speakers as if it were a leviathan rising from the sea, the jaws snapping hard at its potential prey. ‘Requiem To A Nation’ is more of an interlude, a slow-building drum-drenched plodder fuelled by macabre newsreader-style commentary which leads us to the cover of Sepultura’s 1991 classic ‘Arise’, made almost unrecognisable by the hideous drumming of Greg and the hyper guitar attack of Cocco and Sym, while Berselli’s vocal rasp doesn’t allow the track to breath.

Fans of old school death metal will find this clinical, polished style of death metal rather alien, smothered by the technical yet almost remote structures and dynamics. While Gorguts’ Obscura (1998) remains one of my all-time favourite death metal albums, The Modern Age Slavery, in their quest for modern warfare, quite simply leave me uninterested, and when the final whistle blows it’s a sound I welcome with open arms, because, sadly, this type of refined death metal just leaves me cold. Each to their own, but in a world of so many same-sounding bands, The Modern Age Slavery are way down the list of must-hears.

Neil Arnold

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