Hades Rising

Swedish thrash/punk stranglers Defiatory dropped a royal ass kicker with their 2016 debut Extinct.  The band’s caffeinated, hopped-up assault took melodic cues from Sin after Sin and Stained Class, sniped Slayer and the first couple of Overkill records for thrash overload, siphoned in several eras of Swedish brutality (The Crown, Grave, Dismember and the underrated Netherlands’ nuts Callenish Circle) and bent the final product with crust punk’s shellacking d-beat.  Death n’ black metal is also represented in several select areas for variety. If you had a known existing heart condition or neck problems, listening to Extinct would have been hazardous to your health…in all of the right ways of course.

The quintet’s sophomore release Hades Rising ups the ante in every possible way, a point made clear by spine-snapping opener “In Hell.”  Dueling guitarists Ludvig Johansson and Ronnie Björnström waste no time in unleashing a winding, spiraling harmony workout that bleeds into a blood chilling black metal sickness that’s beaten to shit with Jon Skäre’s diseased blastbeats taking no prisoners.  The precision, panic stricken tempo changes soon tumble into repulsive, catchy as fuck 80s thrashings driven into the ground via infectious groovy riff plague, textbook Swedish d-beat, propulsive bass lines and Martin Runnzell’s mad to fuck and back yet clearly decipherable throaty shouts and roars.  This would pair nicely with Solanum’s recent crusty burner Into the Sinner Circle.  Manic solos rip and pare flesh from bone, the end result an opening motherfucker of a track that never gives you a chance to catch a breath.  A chunking, chugging meaty riff kicks off “Dance of the Dead” before a throbbing battery of double-bass drums, harmonized licks and hot-blooded soloing launches this track into a cement wall like a carful of crashtest dummies ready to meet their fate.  Another monstrous chorus cuts a swath through your eardrums as the twin guitars coil into venomous melodies, the entire segment setting up and culminating in towering thrash/punk grooves that skip maiming and get right to the killing.  Psychotic solo trade-offs showcase the guitarists’ own individual chops as Patrik Wall’s taut basswork provides enough extra oomph to keep things thick and dense.

Thunder, lightning, the ringing of church bells, demonic whispers/chants and a seeping doom riff sore kick-off “King in Yellow” with a lecherous Celtic Frost crawl soon to shape-shift into dirty mid-paced thrash that really benefits from the bass adding an extra ton of beef.  The putrid grooves and vocals, snake-tongued leads and impenetrable drumming render this jam so low-slung n’ pulverizing there’s really not much to say except it fucking kicked my ass into Silly Putty.  Amazingly titled, “Stronger than God” lets one axe grind into a rhythm riff groove expertly supported by the staggering bass girth while the other guitar paints twisted melodic leads and lacerations all across every inch of this sonic lobotomy.  The overload of catchy riffing reminds me of Callenish Circle’s Flesh, Power, Dominion and My Passion//Your Pain while sprinkling in a healthy dose of crust punk and slight tinges of black metal thanks to the higher register vocal screeches and fierce melodic undercurrents.  “Death takes us all” is cut from a very similar cloth to its immediate predecessor but the pacing is even more ferocious, the soloing completely insane, the double-bass unrelenting and some of the uglier riffing borrowing from more traditional death metal standards.

At the halfway marker the album shows no signs of slowing down or letting up whatsoever.  “Morningstar’s” vintage harmony guitars drip n’ ooze melody in the early going, the madness ratcheting up to molten, mid-paced grooves giving way to hook-intensive dual riffs that overflow with sublime Swedish harmonies.  The vocals adopt a bit of honest to goodness gruff singing melody in the chorus’ final stanza.  Tasteful solos, melancholic leads and a helluva lot of refinement to the riffs make for a song both tuneful and aggressive.  If there’s a “single” on this record, this would be the one.  Reverting to bash your skull in thrash menace “Down to his Kingdom Below” piles on the craggy, treacherous speed riffing, revolting death metal turns and noxious blastbeasts.  Runnzell sneaks melody into the chorus somehow within the maelstrom while a skyhigh solo floods the cut’s second half in gorgeous guitar scenery but the track remains on quaking tempo bulrush throughout.  Back to back circle pit shredders including the lightspeed thrash of “Metatron” and the black metal inflected “Bane of Confusion” goes straight for the jugular with very little restraint shown by either of this maniacal pairing.  Sludgier, chain-shackled grooves infiltrate the hearty “All that remains,” an exercise in belligerent double-kick throttling, choking growls and expressive bass lines that still sounds positively pissed off despite the melodic guitar fortifications.  The title track climaxes and closes the record on an appropriately dizzying, dominating thrash note with all of the right riffs in tow.

Hades Rising is a fuckin’ beast of an album that thrash-metal lunatics like the fucker that wrote this review should be able to get into.  Obviously fans of the pioneering Swedish bands, Defiatory drops multiple nods to their countrymen who paved the way for their existence while doing the style justice on their own terms.  The mix between extreme speed, powerhouse riff patterns, pestilent melody, killer throaty vocals and great songwriting gives this album legs to run with and plenty of replay-ability for future listens.  Both of Defiatory’s albums are well-worth a buy, though this one raises the stakes by several chips in my opinion.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
May 8th, 2018


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