Doomsday & Salvation

rating icon 7.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Fractured
02. Behind Me In Ruins
03. Closure
04. Bleed Before My Eyes
05. The Maggots Feast
06. This Place Of Madness
07. Days Of The End
08. When A Phoenix Dies
09. Hope For Death
10. You Will Never Live
11. Doomsday And Salvation

I can't speak for anybody else, but one of the things I love the most is to listen to a bunch of old Swedes playing old-school death metal. It would seem that plenty of folk are in agreement, too, such is the enduring appeal and influence of the sound that emerged from Stockholm and Gothenburg in the very early '90s. THE GRIFTED are all old hands at this stuff, with a collective pedigree earned by formative efforts with TREBLINKA (who later became TIAMAT) and cult crew SEPTIC GRAVE. "Doomsday & Salvation" was recorded at the legendary Sunlight Studios, under the wise and watchful eye of Tomas Skogsberg, whose importance to the Swedish scene can hardly be overstated. Frankly, THE GRIFTED have got everything a fan of this stuff could possibly desire. Those authentic old-school credentials and the presence of the producer behind ENTOMBED's first four records would only count for so much if the quintet's songs were subpar in any way. Fortunately, THE GRIFTED have nailed that part of the deal too.

There are so many bands peddling variations on the HM-2 worshipping, classic Swedish death metal theme that songcraft and intensity are the only ways to distinguish wheat from chaff. With the wisdom of ancients on their side, THE GRIFTED have penned a surprisingly diverse batch of songs here. Everything sits neatly within the expected boundaries, but there is a grim, spiteful edge to heavier moments like "Bleed Before My Eyes" and "Hope For Death" and a raw, ragged punk rock insolence propelling the likes of "Fractured" and "You Will Never Live" along. Pitched somewhere between the stoic traditionalism of ENTRAILS and the ante-upping viciousness of PAGANIZER, "The Maggots Feast" is dirty, tunnel vision death metal, stripped down to its purulent core and executed with militant glee. Elsewhere, "When A Phoenix Dies" takes THE GRIFTED deep into raging black-thrash territory, with welcome echoes of UNLEASHED, while "This Place Of Madness" threads post-punk abrasiveness into a steady, tank-swarm battery of riffing, delivered at an oppressive mid-pace and at visceral, turbo-necro velocity.

If "Doomsday & Salvation" lacks anything, it's one certified instant anthem. But everything the Swedes do reeks of putrefied authority, and Skogsberg's production is as meaty and muscular as ageing devotees of the death metal code will be hoping. THE GRIFTED slay. It's a Swedish death metal thing.

Author: Dom Lawson
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