Swedish four piece DEGIAL are back with their third output following 2015’s highly acclaimed release Savage Mutiny, Predator Reign aims to take the aforementioned introduction of black metal to their death metal roots and infuse it permanently into their own style.
Opening with the title track, the album explodes with a furious barrage of double bass and trem picked riffage. This is continued with the albums first single Thousand Spears Impale – a fast paced attack on the listener of which carries a sense of urgency through the layers of finely mixed blackened death metal. Highlighted in this song is the top-notch production carried out by Mersus (previously of DESTROYER 666, drummer for GOSPEL OF THE HORNS) at Underground Studios. The guitars are ravenously raw and aggressive, the vocals from Hampus Eriksson are thick and clear throughout; highlighting his wide range from high screams to low end almost guttural projections.
Another personal highlight is Devil Spawn, opening with dive bombing guitars and a dark and eerie riff the song breaks away before turning everything up to 11. The verses are clean and crisp, highly articulated blast beats keep the pace firmly in black metal realms while the monstrous guitars retain their deathly edge. Opening into another solo reminiscent of MORBID ANGEL the onslaught continues with its aggressive duality driving the track into the appropriately named Hellstorm. Returning to a more traditional pattern the drumming here from Emil Svensson is consistently technical yet varied, keeping the driving force going alongside the articulation of the raw guitars duelling throughout.
Throughout the 39-minute assault the band breaks away from the constrains of their style, bringing forth elements of both groove and stoner metal. A highlight of this would be Triumphant Extinction which brings a deliciously groovy riff from the embers of a completely chaotic introduction. The riff here is simple yet brutal, bouncing off a pinch harmonic and showcasing the tight rhythm section. Clangor of Subjugation closes the album with a six-minute epic, unusual considering the blistering and traditionally short nature within this genre. Finishing off in typically chaotic fashion the song reaches an ecliptic mid-point at which the atmosphere created throughout the lush and heavy layers of thunderous bass, pounding drums and fast picked guitars brings a doom metal feel to the song. As this slower style reaches its end the sections are stripped away leaving the raw and huge sounding bass bring the close.
To question whether this release from DEGIAL is a worthy successor to Savage Mutiny can be answered clearly; this is the best output from DEGIAL in every measurable way. Their recipe for blackened death metal has been carried out in a manner which will please both traditional black metal and death metal fans alike. The songs are fast paced and aggressive as they should be, with guitars ranging from tremolo picked chaos to low riffed attacks amply supplying the listener with headbanging material. Add on top a production from an artist within the field and the result is not just a worthy successor to their highly acclaimed sophomore effort, but a showcase for the genre itself.
Predator Reign is set for release on November 24th via Sepulchral Voice Records.
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