I have to admit I was pretty thrown off by the violin intro, I mean how many Death Metal albums begin with violins, what could be more deceiving to the Death Metal fan? COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN is a U.S. Death Metal band formed back in 98 by Derek Roddy (HATE ETERNAL) and Kevin Quiron and is now ready with album nr. 2 bearing the cool title “Deciphering The Soul”.
Like I said, the intro definitely had me wondering if Season Of Mist had misplaced the real CD somewhere in their office but once “Longing For Clarity” kicks in all suspicious thoughts go away and the sound is unclouded. I’ve always thought that U.S. Death Metal was a bit behind the European sound of the genre even if the first mentioned came first. I think the American sound is more traditional, this band relies on that and plays Death/Black Metal by the book. They have a few interesting approaches, like using a violin and acoustic guitars, but if their intention is to be original this won’t do. The riffing is enjoyable as it changes very often from heavy and fast Death Metal melodicness to atmospheric tremolo picked Black Metal outbursts.
Solos are few and far between but when they do come out of the massive riffing they shred real fast like real Death Metal axe grinders ought to do. Another guitar moment that’s worth mentioning is the dissonant harmonic section in “Resurgence”, a pretty cool track. As if they were desperately trying to put out something different and unique we get some clean vocals showing up rather sparsely in “Acceptance In Silence” and “Distant Memories” which aren’t that convincing in the first place.
No offence, it’s all very well played, the songs are good and quite varied, production has been done by extreme music legend Eric Rutan (MORBID ANGEL and HATE ETERNAL) and with Tim Yeung (VITAL REMAINS, DECREPIT BIRTH) playing the drums you can’t really go wrong, but there’s absolutely nothing in here that hasn’t been done before.
It impossible to say COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN is a worthless band with no creativity, they’re good instrumentalists and are no idiots when it comes to songwriting either. Let’s put it this way; if the Death Metal sound had arrived a decade later than it did COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN would’ve been a hotter name than the case is today. (Online March 27, 2004)