Release DetailsLABEL Iron Fist Productions
RELEASED ON 5/2/2005
Riding With The Reaper
posted on 9/2005 By:
The full length debut from Deceiver picks up right where the Swedes left off with last year’s self titled MCD. Then again, one wouldn’t really expect evolution from a band so firmly focused on the metal of twenty plus years ago. Instead, these guys are much more interested in revisiting the spirits of old heroes like Venom, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate. Riding With the Reaper is a worthy tribute and a welcome sound to old (and old at heart) ears, but the bigger challenge is parlaying that into something more than a nostalgic soundtrack for beer drinking. Of course, some could argue that Deceiver doesn’t need to concern themselves with such things. If you’re one of those people, Riding With the Reaper is for you; but if you’re a little more wary of return trips down memory lane, then the recommendation isn’t as enthusiastic.
Deceiver possess all the ingredients to really turn the corner, but aren’t always able to combine them together to fire on all cylinders. Their greatest weapon is their authentic old school sound, which the band proudly claims comes straight from the heart. These guys are clearly more than some sloppy, hero worshiping unknowns. The band, which includes ex-members of Maze of Torment and Xenofanes, works together quite well. Guitarist Pete Flesh lays down strings of deliciously vintage riffs, which are complimented by the prominent bass lines of Crille Lundin, who also establishes a solid rhythm with drummer Magnus Flink. Front man Destormo’s gruff voice is at times a perfect match, but at others he struggles slightly, especially during more melodic passages, such as choruses. In fact, choruses are in general often Deceiver’s achilles heel, as at times vocal performance troubles simply accentuate humdrum writing. Nothing egregious, just enough to remind you that Deceiver is still a young band. Destormo has since left the band, and Pete Flesh has taken over vocal duties as well, so it will be interesting to hear what Deceiver have lost and gained in the vocal department.
Deceiver play traditional metal with some thrash elements, a style they’ve termed as “thrashing heavy metal”. Most of the songs alternate between melodic, tight mid-tempo grooves and up-tempo fist pumping passages. When all the pieces fit, Deceiver can be downright dangerous. “God of Dead” is perfectly paced, with driving rhythms alternated with ringing chords and notes, while Flink abuses his toms, Lundin rumbles along, and Destormo gets every last venomous note right. Opener “Crown of Deceit” uses a similar slow and fast assault, with prominent bass and a guitar groove that could catch Lemmy’s attention. “Sinners Congregation” is an up-tempo song that has some Stained Class influence. Some of the songs don’t fare as well, but all are listenable and have redeeming qualities. I feel like I’ve been a little hard on this album, which at the end of a day, I still regard as a solid purchase. But with some songwriting tweaking, Deceiver is capable of releasing a damn impressive album. In the meantime, Riding With the Reaper deals out the kind of gritty, beer swilling, energetic retro metal that will catch the ear, if only temporarily, of anyone with a love of vintage metal.
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