Album: Sermon of Apathy
Label: Black Lion Records
Release Date: 04/09/2020
Looking back we realised that we all loved Desolator’s latest release Sermon of Apathy and yet somehow we haven’t reviewed it yet, so this morning we would like to correct that. The album was released back on September 4th on Black Lion Records, in partnership with Qabar PR.
If you aren’t familiar with Desolator, they hail from Stockholm, Sweden and have been around since 2009. The band play straight up, uncompromising death metal. Sermon of Apathy will be the band’s 2nd full lenght release, but they’ve also put out an EP, a split and a demo.
The band is Jonas Bergkvist on bass and backing vocals (also in Soliloquium, Wolfcross, Ending Quest), Stefan Nordström on guitars and vocals (also in Ashes of Life, Soliloquium, The Ashen Tree, Ending Quest), Joakim Rudemyr on guitars and vocals (also in Within the Fall), Victor Parri on drums (also in Eosphorus, Hadriel, Isole, Neuronaut, The Curse, Valkyrja).
The album features 7 tracks, coming in at 40:45 in total, with the average song length being roughly around the 5 minute mark. The first thing I need to point out about the album is its fantastic production quality. The recording and mixing on this album us great, you can hear every instrument perfectly, nothing is drowned out or eclipsed.
The primary vocals on the release are powerful and gutteral, but can still be understood. While they are on the more gutteral side, there’s also a rawness to them and some variety added by the use of different tones at times. The other vocals on the album are more of a higher, more grating, screeching style. This is the bonus of having three vocalists in the band, their variety helps to keep things interesting.
Guitar wise we get some solid death metal riffs on this release. While this isn’t a melodic death metal album, we actually get plenty of melody. The music primarily sits around the mid tempo mark, at times dipping into the slow and heavy and at other times picking up in speed and aggression.
While segments of the guitar work are technical in nature, I like to think that the band leans more towards atmosphere than technicallity, with the album having a great overal energy to it. The guitar tone itself is honestly fantastic, it sits between being clean and crunchy and is one of the elements that helps the band be melodic and yet still harsh.
Drums and bass wise we get solid offerings. The drum work in particular is technical and features some complex arrangements, The overall energy of the release is driven as much by its drum work as it’s guitar, which is not always the case with death metal. Bass wise it does it’s job just fine, but personally I would have liked to have it shine through a little more, maybe get some segments where it captures the listeners focus, but thats just me personally. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where the bass shines through, I just wish there were more of them.
As far as favourite tracks go, track 7 The Great Law of the Dead is probably my favourite. This is the longest song on the album coming in at 8:48 and featuring Nile’s Karl Sanders (who I happen to love), as well as Oliver Palmquist of Phidion on vocals. There’s so much that goes into this song, the shredding guitar work courtesy of Karl Sanders, the added energy of Oliver’s vocals. Honestly, the overall tone and energy of the track itself is just epic, it’s the perfect way to wrap the album up.
Another song I love is track 4 Methods of Self-Deception, a close second favourite, its a little slower, but it features plenty of atmopshere and is a little more on the brooding side. This is probably one of the more complex tracks on the album and it really stood out to me.
I’ll also give honourable mention to the album’s opener, Portal Tomb for having some great energy and killer riffs. This was the right way to open the album and immediately had me hooked, particularly in the last 1:15 or so of the song where it became far slower and more atmospheric, shifting into what appears to be an incantation of some sort in another language.
Overall this was a great album and we regret taking so long to cover it, but the review is here now and we hope that if you haven’t already, that you take some time out of your day and check this one out.
Listen to the full album below: