Senate
The Great Northern Scenekill

Despite the Pantera based album title, Canada’s Senate actually deliver one of the more solid self released efforts heard that’s up there with the likes of The Fifth Sun, Martriden, and Empyrean Eclipse as far as well put together, well packaged and well played self released efforts.

Armed with a Tue Madsen mastering job, as well as members of Martyr (Can) and Threat Signal for this recording, Senate rip their way through 8 (intro not withstanding) track of particularly savage and seething melodic death metal with hints of American Metal. However, the seething, almost black metal vocals of Matt DiFranco give the overall sound far more bite than their American contemporaries.

Whereas most melodic death metal or even American Metal tends to be a bit sugary and amicable, Senate’s tone, in part due to the vocals and the far more blistering riffs, Senate’s (virtually) synth free visage is one that has more in common with the more pure likes of early At The Gates, Darkest Hour, The Black Dahlia Murder, Arsis and such, but even then, they come across as leaner and meaner. Even with a few slightly more paced moments such as the intro or the mid-song break in “War Without End, Amen”, the acoustic start of “Whispers” the bulk of the album is a seething ball of razor sharp riffs, pummeling blasts, well placed but hardly friendly solos and vicious screams.

Venomous tracks like apt opener (after the intro) “Victorious Hatred”, “Queen of Sorrow”, “Crucifixer” vicious “Anti” and “Recommit Rising” and longer, slower tracks “Whispers” and epic, synth licked closer “Draconis” simply show a tight, well oiled band on the cusp of a record deal, and considering today’s musical climate, possible critical acclaim with little or no improvement or tweaking of their current sound. The only suggestion I would make is to not put the two more controlled, 6-plus minute tracks next to each other at the end of the album.

Otherwise, The Great Northern Scenekill is a damn stout release from a band I look to hear big things from in the future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
June 4th, 2007

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