posted on 4/2009 By:
The country of Belgium is, today, an important economic, industrial and political center, being the world’s fifteenth largest trading nation, and host of the headquarters of both the European Union and NATO. However, Belgium has only recently enjoyed such prestige and good fortune. For approximately five centuries the area now called Belgium was known as “the battlefield of Europe.” In addition to providing the main route for Germany’s invasion of France in both world wars, Belgium served as a major battle ground for many other wars including the Eighty Years War, the Thirty Years War and the War of Austrian Succession. So it is not entirely unfitting that Belgian death metal band Caducity chooses war as their primary subject matter. The band’s fourth album Destination: Caducity continues a grand tradition of war-themed death metal albums that includes gems such as: Pentacle’s Under the Black Cross, Drowned in Blood’s The Warfare Continues, Hail of Bullets’ excellent …Of Frost and War and, of course, every god damned record Bolt Thrower ever made.
As Caducity is a death metal band, the lyrics are difficult to decipher, but from what I can glean from the song titles, the principal subject matter of Destination: Caducity appears to be the battle of Stalingrad. Stalingrad, the critical turning point of World War II, was one of the fiercest and most costly battles in human history, with casualties approaching two million. If ever a subject was fit for a style of music called death metal, this is it.
Caducity’s sound is heavy and rhythmic, well suited to conjuring the sounds of warfare, be it the rumble of tank treads, the concussion of artillery or the rat-tat-tat of machinegun fire. Melody is present but often understated. The songs are driven instead by shifting tempos, rhythmic variation and the almighty power of the riff. This is meat and potatoes death metal in the old-school tradition and Caducity play it well.
Tracks like “Time is Blood” and “Bis Zur Letzen Patrone” and “Academy of Street Battles” churn with furious intensity that echo the chaos and ferocity of the fighting during the Wehrmacht’s initial assault of the city. The more deliberately pace tracks like “Hope Abandoned” and “Capitulation (Out of the Question)” and “When Death Embraces Me” capture the desperation that set in with the coming of winter, where soldiers starved, froze and fought amongst the rubble and skeletal structures of a city that, for all intents and purposes, no longer existed. Singer N.G. digs deep on these tracks, unleashing his most guttural and expressive growls. Sprinkled throughout the album are samples of gunfire and explosions and occasional bits of dialogue that add to the atmosphere. Unfortunately all the dialogue is in either German or Russian and I speak neither, so its contribution to the proceedings is limited.
It is difficult to say without a lyric sheet whether Destination: Caducity is intended to be a full fledged concept album, but in any case it succeeds conveying the triumph, terror, hardship and horror of the battle of Stalingrad and of warfare in general. Regardless of it’s theme, Destination: Caducity is a fine platter of death metal. Those with a taste for early nineties death metal are advised to check it out.
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