Memoriam – “The Silent Vigil” (Nuclear Blast)
Oh what, another Memoriam album?! Just last year we were graced by the power of “For The Fallen” and now in comes another 9 new tracks that makes me wonder if the band originally had composing fever – or Christmas has just come after the last one ha ha! Formed by Bolt Thrower vocalist Karl Willets when that band went on hiatus following the tragic passing of drummer Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns, Memoriam’s rapid success is owed to reigniting that old school British death metal sound as well as featuring a super group line up in Frank Healy (Benediction, Cerebral Fix), Scott Fairfax (Cerebral Fix) and Andy Whale (Bolt Thrower). Needless to say there’s very little change although one point is the somewhat different sound, with the instruments and especially the guitars less prominent in the mix at times, making me wonder if the band could benefit from more time, or just an actual producer if they self produced as per the last release? That aside, the material is no less lethal than on the last outing and in the expert hands of these veterans is more than enjoyable to say the least! Focusing on themes of death, loss and war, the songs remain as grim and aggressive as before, with the style rooted as much in British 80s anarcho punk as in British death metal. Equally, the lyrical themes diverge from mainstream death metal gore to be socially conscious such as on ‘Bleed The Same’, dealing with the topical issues such as the rise of nationalistic xenophobic ideologies through its massive dirty chords laced with melody and completed by a Martin Luther King sound byte. On ‘From The Flames’ the tempo speeds up through its dirty chundering riffing and double bass beats – and not mention, a huge booming bass sound as Willets prophesies ‘…the whole world burning…’ – talk about music for the apocalypse! Heading into epic territory on ‘As Bridges Burn’ to match their album its a classy mix of tempos from evil whirring riffola to slower grinding pieces and of course, some good old death metal groove – awesome! All in all an excellent continuation with plenty for the beast to feast on, although Memoriam would be wise to stylise in studio more before the next one….