In truth, the identity of the songwriting reflects the diligence and effort that unveils the roots of the British death metal institute in merging doom and death metal into one concrete mix, and this is what Memoriam tends to bring to the nature of the songs. The opening salvo “Never Forget, Never Again (6 Million Dead) builds into heavy sledgehammer riffs, head-banging tempos, and crushing heaviness while utilizing slow-laden guitar passages akin to doom metal. Like every album, the songs are riff oriented, but there is just another quality here that sounds menacing, the brooding dark lead guitars enhance the overall atmosphere in the following track “Total War”. Spikey T. Smith delivers some crushing double bass, grinding the gears into punishing double bass, and remains powerfully consistent throughout the tracks.
“Rise To Power” exerts a brutal and organic force deriving its most potent forms of fierce death metal riffing. The guitars are insistently driven bringing the classic heaviness with riffs like dirges built into the song craft. The abrasive and demolishing strikes of the drums in the opening of “I Am the Enemy” captures the listener with the slow-droning guitars. Karl Willetts‘s trademark growls add to the mournful tone of the guitar melodies setting up bleak images of war. The fifth album truly holds the intrinsic nature of death/doom, and I can’t stop thinking of bands like Bolt Thrower and Paradise Lost every time when the droning lead guitars invade my mind.
While “The Conflict Is Within” has a grim melodic melody there is a real sense of stampede in the tempo that comes like a powerful blaze of the guitar riffs and the drums that seem to act as crushing artillery. Karl Willetts and Scott Fairfax inject massive aggression and the rumbling bass guitar of Frank Healy spreads like a destructive fire. Memoriam’s central defining quality is the focus on the abrasive riffing that conveys a gloomy picturesque of a battlefield, therefore, drawing the listener deep into the sinuous trenches. Perhaps the greatest standpoint of “Rise To Power” is that the songs bring out the head-banging grooves from the band’s first album “For the Fallen” and the brutal fierceness of the third album “Requiem for Mankind”. Once again the cover album illustrated by Dan Seagrave fits the themes of war which has become the principle of Memoriam’s sonic theme.
The guitars in “Annihilations Dawn” unleashes the steamrolling riffs and the brutal crushing approach of the drums pulverizing the ears there are some grisly but catchy Middle Eastern melodies. Scott Fairfax seems to have a knack for excellent musicianship surprising the listener with catchy hooks and chugging riffs. “All Is Lost” is another merciless stomping track that offers a heavy slab stimulating the aggressive nature of Memoriam, the riffs are heavy with its crushing slow tempos the growls come blasting forth as the roaring beast. Although most of the songs are fixed at the mid-tempo style of 90s death metal, the drums and guitars are perfectly balanced and there’s not even one moment where the guitars lack the heaviness as there is so much oppressiveness in the tone of the vocals.
The impact of the grinding drums and the commanding rhythm guitars is masterly built on the album’s title track “Rise To Power” which opens with a slow marching tempo before the grinding drums are accompanied by epic lead guitar melodies and destructive drums artillery supremely dominating the song. Memoriam has surely mastered an impressive formula in presenting a rather different approach than the preceding albums. The savage intensity draws a unique experience because Karl Willetts and Co. have found effective elements in bridging death metal with doom.
Onwards to the album’s final track “The Pain” which is the longest song on the album, opening with an acoustic intro and the tribal drums begin to play in the background. Having said that the guitars are layered with each and every element from the relentless drum beats, heavy bass guitar, and melodic guitar riffs sending shivers down your spine. Although the track feels like it has been cut from the old cloth of Bolt Thrower you can sense some similarities that make it very inspirational.
- Music / Songwriting 10/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 10/10
- Artwork & Packaging 9/10
- Originality 10/10
“Rise To Power” is an immense death metal record utterly fueled on adrenaline-powered riffs and smashing drums, certainly, this is one of the band’s best works to date. This is a top-notch death metal record filled with robust energy Memoriam on the newest album flawlessly nails its sound.
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