Decrowning the Irenarch

There’s not too many high-quality, new, young death or black metal acts coming out of the UK right now. Sarpanitum and Scythian are the only ones that immediately come to mind. However, after Spearhead’s 2005 primal but forgetful debut, Deathless Steel Command, the Brits have returned with a superior follow-up (subtitled The Doctrine of Imperial Fidelity and the Supertemporal Divine Right of War) album of blackened war metal.

The easiest and most viable comparison would be Chicago’s Forest of Impaled, as Spearhead plays a war-themed form of black/death metal; that’s to say generally shriller riffs and vocals than death metal but with the occasional lumbering slowdown. Throw in some impressive themes and lyrics of Romanic (“Iulianus Augustus Apostata”), Napoleonic (“Road to Austerlitz”) and World War I (“Brotherhood of Arms”) based destruction and some dramatic instrumental segues and samples (“Prolegomenon” and “Interregnum”- a stirring rendition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar), and you get a damn solid album.

Granted, Decrowning the Irenarch isn’t a genre changer, but it is a compact, volatile, and competent album, especially where drummer Vortigern, who serves in a couple of other low-key UK acts (The One, Archaicus) is concerned. As a whole, all the tracks are stern and tight, with lots of fervent, slicing blastbeats (the short sharp “Thus Always to Tyrants” seems to standout) and feral screams. On occasion, Spearhead do delve into more impressive, epic segments as heard on “In the Face of the Absolute,” the militaristic standout “Mors Triumphalis,” and “Brotherhood of Arms.”

Keep an eye out for Spearhead (and Invictus Productions for that matter), as they appear to possess all the quality of a rising act capable of invigorating the lagging British death/black metal scene.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 10th, 2008


  1. Commented by: AVERSIONLINE

    How can you not mention Angelcorpse as a comparison!? Ha, ha… it seemed so blatant to me! Very solid record, though…

  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Yeah def an Angelcorpse sound, but they are identical to FOI.

  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    I’ve been playing the fuck out of this album recently. I had their debut album and never really listened to it but I agree this is a tremendous improvement. Dropping most of the black metal elements and going for the Angelcorpse sound was a wise decision. I think this is even better then the very impressive last Forest of Impaled album (although the first song on that album is almost TOO good, very catchy and epic as fuck!)

  4. Commented by: BreedingtheSpawn

    This is a really good release. I also think their first album is good also.

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