Servants Of Violence

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. To the Hounds Go the Faithful
02. Mask of Sorrow
03. Vulture Culture
04. Tyranny Begins
05. Doomsday Prophecy
06. Wading Through the Dead and Deceased
07. Servants of Violence
08. Sentenced to Death
09. Manifested Ignorance
10. Edge of Collapse

Death metal means many things to many people at this point, but the essence of the genre remains the same: righteous riffs and maximum brutality. "Servants of Violence" has a bountiful supply of both. Yet another exciting new prospect from the rapidly expanding UK death metal scene, CASKET FEEDER are no kind of route-one death metal band, but their mastery of the form's rudimentary components is self-evident here.

Opener "To the Hounds Go the Faithful" slams down the blueprint: a giant, bombastic intro, followed by scything, deeply chunky riffs, bursts of blackened spite and a pitch-perfect drop of tempo that allows shades of epic doom into the mix. "Mask of Sorrow" is more direct and deranged, spine-wrenching breakdowns, cudgeling blasts and a swarming, mid-paced detour that gives way to yet another prime slab of infernal chug.

Many of CASKET FEEDER's British peers are firmly entrenched in old-school filth, but "Servants of Violence" is a meaner, more streamlined take on the same basic idea. These songs thrash and grind with a certain (metallic) hardcore flair, not least on the unrelenting battery of "Vulture Culture", while also being consistently and impressively catchy throughout. Songs like "Tyranny Begins" use straight-ahead death metal as a starting point but subsequently cover rather more musical ground than you might expect with frequent riffs of a distinctly frosty nature, occasional nods to the heavier end of early '00s metalcore and, on the heroically heavy "Doomsday Prophecy", some skewed but unmistakable BOLT THROWER worship.

CASKET FEEDER reach a first peak of efficacy on "Servants of Violence" itself. Although rooted in the same raw materials as its nine counterparts, it's the one moment here that suggests a more progressive and adventurous future of its creators. Not, of course, that there is anything remotely wrong with the way this album sticks to the brutal script, but this band have insane amounts of potential. As they demonstrate on the slithering horrors of the closing "Edge of Collapse", CASKET FEEDER already have enough imagination to make straightforward extremity sound fresh, new and laudably unpleasant.

Author: Dom Lawson
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