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Monastery Dead - Victims Of Senseless Massacre (7,5/10) - Russia - 2009

Genre: Death Metal
Label: Musica Productions
Playing time: 36:04
Band homepage: Monastery Dead

Tracklist:

  1. The Awakening (intro)
  2. Songs Of The Dead
  3. Punishment
  4. Spirit Of Time
  5. Feasting On The Blood
  6. Dead City
  7. Overthrown God
  8. Revenge
  9. Unavoidable Death
  10. Victims Of Senseless Massacre
  11. Deprived Of The Last Hope
  12. One More Interrupted Life
  13. Expectation Of Death
Monastery Dead - Victims Of Senseless Massacre

As someone who’s been travelling down the road of ever-increasing extreme Metal for all of my adult life, it seems that most of the time, especially recently, I go looking for more progressive and obscure stops by the roadside. To be sure, I still love many bands who have stayed their course yet still infuse me with vigour and passion; the mighty BOLT THROWER being a prime example. However, I do tend to seek outside of such bands a more subtle and engaging experience. I say all this to then state that despite this sometimes you simply want a band to come along and punch you in the face with a Metal fist and leave you bleeding with nothing else but a straight out crunch of Death. Well, MONASTERY DEAD are just that band; clean, terse and going for the jugular the whole time. There’s nothing extraordinary about “Victims Of Senseless Massacre”, no great technicality, no sweeping progressive movements, and truthfully nothing you haven’t heard before probably. But, this is a solid, immensely pleasurable and pure Death Metal album.

 

Opening with actually the most layered track, “The Awakening (Intro)” is a mid-paced, and well soloed piece of melodic Metal, making you suspect that what is to follow may be a bit epic, a bit of a harmonious endeavour. Nope, you’d be wrong. What ensues is direct harsh rhythms, efficient drumming and engagingly unfussy song structures; the chug-chug riffing is even less distorted than so much of the modern Metal scene that it seems to hearken back to days of yore, when everything wasn’t so scattered and complicated. Yet, such simplicity (and I hope that term is no taken derogatively here) is what makes “Punishment” so alluring; fuck your tremolo sweeps and multi-faceted guitar attack, we’re just going to lay down some god damn raw, essential Death that kills because it is just that, raw and ultimately essential. The riffs peel off of this album, and it is quite easily a sound that can keep your head banging for the entire duration of the record.

 

I get the sense that this album may well have been recorded, if not written at different times. The first few tracks seem less polished (even though all remain brusque) than the middle and latter parts of the album. Now this may be the case, as the band released a demo last year which consisted of the first few songs on “Victims Of Senseless Massacre”; so perhaps they did just record and write later on and add these cuts. That is not to say the first few songs aren’t good, they’re fist-swaying crackers also, but the last half stays simple yet slightly more nuanced. One noticeable difference is the sparser use in the later songs of a second, Black Metal vocalist that comes across a bit grating in the initial tracks, but is blended in far more superiorly as the album progresses. Irrespective of how the album was recorded, these guys pummel through 13 songs and keep it short and sweet. There’s no filler here, no wanking off with the aforementioned technicality, no pretence, just plain ol’ throttling. If there is a really standout song, it is “Overthrown God”, which starts with a sludgy Death Metal riff not unlike “Covenant” era MORBID ANGEL, and in fact has overtones of “God Of Emptiness” at its core. This fantastic, Doom ridden riff and rhythm then give way to a real class piece of Death-cum-Thrash that hurtles along the Metal highway with formidable aplomb. Judging by the picture of the band on Metal Archives, these Russian cats are young…I mean young! Still, it doesn’t stop them from putting together a highly enjoyable Death record that has been playing on my iPod for weeks now.

(Online October 4, 2009)

Stephen Rafferty



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