Arcana Doctrina

Ossuary Industries
rating icon 7 / 10

Track listing:

01. Christ Dementia
02. Curse of the Nephilim
03. Immaculate Decay
04. Defiling the Eucharist
05. Bound by the Chains of Purgatory
06. Transfiguration
07. Catastrophic Divine Judgement
08. Awakening the Leviathan
09. As I Behold I Despise

Call it old-school, call it true, call it pure, call it whatever the fuck floats your boat, just don't call DIAMANTHIAN and expect anything but the same blood-soaked and brutal death metal that had us all hailing the unholy one over a decade ago. This British trio is among a younger sect of purists that have either completely ignored or utterly despise (probably both) the different twists and turns that death metal has taken over the last several years.

As you've probably already figured out, "Arcana Doctrina" is about as straight-forward as it comes. Spawned from a diet of INCANTATION, Barnes-era CANNIBAL CORPSE, BOLT THROWER and MORBID ANGEL, DIAMANTHIAN could have easily held their own during the death metal's first heyday in the early '90s. Are they as memorable or visceral as the aforementioned? Not quite, but nor are they cheap carbon copies of their influences either. Not surpassing your masters isn't necessarily anything to be upset about though and this is one band that has plenty to offer the DM community. With that classic, bone-grinding and growly low end guitar tone, the band rips into "Christ Dementia" like a hyena to a fresh carcass. Vicious stop-and-go riffing, minor key melodic runs and CANNIBAL CORPSE-style hammer-on riffs make this a very effective opening track, but the warped dissonance and harmonies heard on "Defiling The Eucharist" elevates said tune to standout status. The group's knack for creative songwriting is evident during "Curse Of The Nephillim", which blends explosive bursts of speed and unique chord voicings into one rather intense tune. "Transgression" is another shining moment on "Arcana Doctrina" where DIAMANTHIAN take a moderately technical and speedy approach to their classic brand of death. Were the album's production quality a bit better, these two songs would have left a much bigger impression, but the band's destructive intent is undeniably felt. A massive amount of doom makes its way into the otherwise frill-less and gargantuan "Awakening The Leviathan". Liken the faster parts of this tune to being hacked up into little pieces, while the slower sections methodically bury you in concrete. Now is that's not death metal enough for you, then the hidden cover of DEMIGOD's "As I Behold I Despise" that closes the disc should be.

While this is by no means a reinvention of the wheel and there are numerous acts around the world taking a similar path, DIAMANTHIAN is well worth checking out. Their strict adherence to the tried and true ways of early '90s death metal doesn't keep them from adding just enough twists and turns to avoid being a completely one-dimensional act. Though not devoid of flaws, such as the flattish production or the occasional humdrum riff, "Arcana Doctrina" is a pretty damn good chuck of death metal. Free of modern charms, trend-fueled staples or digital polish, these U.K.-based have just brought one devastating fucking missile to use in the battle against false death metal.

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