Album Review: Desolator - Sermon of Apathy
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
Another old school death metal band were the Initial thoughts as Stockholm based Desolator ripped into the opening track ‘Portal Tomb’ on this, their second album. But as ‘Portal Tomb’ progressed, there was much more evolving. It’s clear that the quartet have long worshiped at the altar of the old gods, but rather than emulate the classic buzzsaw sound of their countrymen from three decades ago, Desolator have taken wider influences to create a wider sound. This evolution started on their 2016 EP ‘Spawn of Misanthropy’ when the likes of early Morbid Angel and Immolation were plundered and added to the mix.
But don’t fear, this isn’t a total change in direction and the gritty guts are still firmly embedded in the band’s sonic output. Track two, ‘Adversarial Doctrine’ builds on the opening song and this is the way that the band continue throughout the album. Cleverly increasing the tempo and atmosphere as the album progresses, the chainsaw assault on ‘Adversarial Doctrine’ is tempered with subtle changes of pace on ‘Creatures of Habit’, brief blasts of machine gunning drumming balanced with calmer, mid-paced sections.
What’s impressive on this album is the way the band manage to use their changes of tempo without losing an ounce of the crushing heaviness that surges through the release. A calmer intro on ‘Methods of Self-Deception’ soon stands aside as the battery begins whilst there is a frantic, bruising, intense style to ‘Vaticide’. There’s not much to fault here. The epic closing track ‘The Great Law of The Dead’ which swells like an oncoming storm features guest appearances Oliver Palmquist (Phidion) on vocals and Nile’s Karl Sanders taking control of the lead guitar work. It’s a compelling piece of work which closes the album in majestic style. From The slight changes on each song provides welcome relief to the more standard fare which is on offer with many death metal albums around, whilst the sheer power ensures that enthusiasts should be satisfied. Desolator are Stefan Nordström – Guitars and Vocals, Joakim Rudemyr – Guitars and Vocals, Jonas Bergkvist – Bass and Vocals and Victor Parri – Drums
‘Sermon of Apathy’ is released by Black Lion Records on 4th September.