British death metal war machine Memoriam unleashed their fourth album ‘To the End‘ via Reaper Entertainment on March 26th, 2021. Following the release of the third album ‘Requiem for Mankind‘ these veterans have proven true to their roots. The newest album includes nine tracks that meander through a slow death metal pace and stomping groove. Over the last five years they have continued their craft in the traditional form of British old school death metal. While the sound on the latest effort has grown more visceral, the band sums up what they have achieved in the past. Memoriam consists of the ex-members of Bolt Thrower, fronted by vocalist Karl Willetts, guitarist Scott Fairfax, bassist Frank Healy and drummer Spikey T. Smith.
The opening track ‘Onwards into Battle‘ steps immediately into a slow crushing tempo and serves as an example of their classic, monolithic riffs. In this unsettling pace the quartet improvises on their destructive arsenal of dual guitars combined with potent drums blow. The lead guitars showcase a virtuosity that seemed to be kept hidden on their previous albums. While the artillery barrage of the riffs is dominated throughout, the songs serve many variations: from the gigantic display of the monstrous growls to the catchy lead guitars.
The militaristic battery provides a volatile force while the guitars engage in a barrage of war-like riffs. On the latest album the British quartet has brought their most intense material to date. The riffs are more condensed and the songs involve gigantic tempos. However, the newly recruited drummer Spikey T. Smith does an excellent job in adding strength to the songs. ‘This War Is Won‘ presents an intensive riffing bombardment, carried out by a range of gruff vocals. ‘To the End‘ is a powerful and consistent album where the whole performance sounds quite coherent. The song structure is seemingly collective with the constant elements of aggression and variations infused into the music. ‘No Effect‘ builds on striking riffs. The weighty death metal growls are pushed to the forefront. Memoriam on their newest album unfolds new standards. The songs engage in heavy and dynamic tempos without reducing the scale of aggression.
By combining facets from their previous albums the following track ‘Failure to Comply‘ is based upon a meticulous chunk of heavy death metal whilst the stomping aggression somehow stumbles upon some plodding moments on ‘Each Step (One Closer to the Grave)’. The track ventures into slow and melancholic doomy lead guitars where the band conveys a crushing slab of death/doom metal perfection. There’s a refined sense to the musical core structure: every combative amalgamation of aggression coincides with the refined lead and rhythm guitar.
The pummeling rampage of the blazing riffs and the focused drum pace on ‘To the End‘ reflects on the old classical institution of British death/doom. Therefore, the slower songs here thrive on dense atmospheric riffs, professionally molded to fit the old-school templates. ‘To the End‘ sets up a relentless furry and musical prowess from these veterans. There is an undeniable old-school vibe to nineties raw death metal. Aside from the music the sound production makes the album by far their best sounding record.
Every conceivable riff turns into a powerful effect as Memoriam conveys a powerful and emotive performance. By harnessing the berserk violence of the chunky guitars ‘Vacant Stare‘ contains a catchy lead guitar intro. Building a massive wall of thrashing guitars and pounding mid-tempo drums on ‘Mass Psychosis‘, they bring it down with a blast of chugging guitars and crude punk elements. Along with the buzzing bass the bizarre mechanical noise heavily resounds. In the closing track ‘As My Heart Grows Old’ the guitars emphasize a melancholic mood.
‘To the End‘ is to be considered a seminal work that defines the band’s musical direction without sacrificing the main component of their craft. These amalgamations have somehow refined the music to sound both classic and modern at the same time.
Release Date: March 26th, 2021
Label: Reaper Entertainment
- Onwards into Battle
- This War Is Won
- No Effect
- Failure to Comply
- Each Step (One Closer To the Grave)
- To the End
- Vacant Stare
- Mass Psychosis
- As My Heart Grows Cold