This Derry band have already proven themselves a quality proposition. Their ‘Hate Infected Mind’ demo from a while back showed proper awareness when it came to songwriting, and a natural heaviness that surpassed many of their peers. A lot of that was to do with the dark thread that runs through what’s otherwise quite accessible metal.
Their sound is a mix of melodic Swedish riffing with American screaming and general shove. It’s done properly though, with the net result that At The Gates’ most impressive material is frequently referenced. I can hear ‘Under A Serpent Sun’, for example, many times in here – in a way that is far removed from the current generation of throwaway pillagers.
There’s also a little bit of prime period Fear Factory and ‘Burn My Eyes’ Machine Head in there too. Those are referenced in two respects. Firstly, some nice soaring and echoed Burton C Bell vocals (again, far from the way of the crowd) and secondly, superb rhythm guitar work.
There are no solos in Death Warrant’s music, and they’re not needed. Check out the excellent ‘Grim Face Of Suicide’ and you’ll see why. It’s straight out of first album Haunted, which essentially means a spoiling of memorable riffs.
Hearing detailed downtuned guitars is a treat. Death Warrant’s work in this regard is excellent, as are the reliable and punchy drums that underly it all. They never disgrace themselves, even at a daring ten-plus tracks. It’s dark, low and quick.
Mainstream metal need not be a dirty word. The phrase does not automatically imply some sort of dubious groove. Not everyone needs a subgenre to feel validated. This is an example of all that’s great about contemporary mainstream feel – dark, memorable and hard, it leaves you with the lingering feeling that there’s much to yet be discovered in it. Even from pretty straight out, riff driven songs with no apparent ideological or artistic pretensions. That’s a talent.
Earl Grey ::: 03/07/09