Master of Hate
posted on 4/2012 By:
Apart from the rather questionable choice of a name just one ‘y’ away from their semi-legendary countrymen in Desultory, and despite having a band logo that resembles a toothbrush cum torture device, Sweden’s Desultor impresses on this debut full-length by turning a style that too often becomes a bland fusion of metallic modernity into a compact serving of reckless yet well-mannered energy.
Desultor’s core duo of guitarist/vocalist Markus Joha and drummer Ibrahim Stråhlman concern themselves on Masters of Hate with a brashly enthusiastic and highly modern blend of melodeath/thrash. The drumming in particular also carries more than a whiff of the industrial overtones of Strapping Young Lad, and yet the whole careening package is topped off with snarling power metal vocals that sound like a much less acquired-taste-y Warrel Dane.
On the guitar front, this is an album about riffing, not riffs. So, while none of these tunes will have you swinging your skin axe (that’s just a synonym I just made up for ‘air guitar,’ you perverts) days after the fact while waiting in line at the DMV, the fretwork works in a lightning-fast lockstep with the drums to make you groove fast and groove hard. The double-tracked soloing that pops up frequently (see “Division Insane,” “Denied,” and “Black Monday,” the latter of which is nearly half soloing) is a needed breather from the otherwise endless procession of chunky but production-smoothed melodic death/thrash riffing, while the drums for the most part alternate between blasting with clinical precision and blanketing the mix with an inescapably modern double-bass barrage.
Given that the album is already such a concise statement, the three pointless interludes take up valuable killing time, and the songs with less memorable vocal phrasings or slightly less vicious riffing attacks do become a bit of a blur as the album wears on. Still, although the energy of the band’s attack hits harder early on in the record, the songs are made of sterner stuff in the second half, from the lurid tremolo melody and riffing on the upbeat of “The Luxury of Pain,” to one of the album’s most memorable choruses in “And So We Bleed,” to the celebratory “Masters of Hate,” which sees the vocals get pleasantly unhinged (perhaps almost Baloff-ed).
For a debut full-length, this gets the job done pretty well. While the vocals are an unusual choice for the style, there is nothing revolutionary about Desultor. And yet, one gets the sense that they are carrying on the good fight - metal for metal’s sake. Masters of Hate works best as a straight shot of pummeling adrenaline, so maybe instead of overthinking it we all ought to shut our mouths or punch a cow or get punched by a cow. For Desultor’s part, well, they’ve just brought thirty-four minutes of hard-charging good times. What you do with the fine ashen mist that follows is your business, and yours alone.
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