The theme of the album as a whole is fighting a strong oppressor, like a proverbial Goliath. The first track, “Dark Wings of Deception”, highlights both the album’s good ideas and weaknesses: it begins with a dark riff and some spoken word about how kings are chosen by god but make the mistakes of men, and then, it builds up to a heavy but not particularly memorable riff and not very impressive throaty growls. It’s not the most interesting song you’ve ever heard, not even the most interesting on the album, but at least, it’s full of speed and some very good and heavy drumming.
The rest of the album is a similar mixed bag of good ideas and weaknesses contrasting with each other, often in one same track. The main issues are the way the songs feel a little too derivative and rarely take any risk, their tendencies to go on for too long, and the vocals, which are not that good, being rather ordinary grunts, not very low, not very high or raspy, without a very distinctive tone. The title track is a short, fast thrash-y death metal number with relentless speed and heaviness. It’s the kind of track that packs a real punch. “Die as a King” has a slightly similar riff to the title track, but it has such an awesome speed, and such a great and defiant “I won’t surrender” chorus that it doesn’t matter. “Heroes to Villains” is repetitive, but it’s pretty fast and has a catchy chorus, and a cool part where the riffs go faster and the vocalist says “Let’s go!”. The heaviest, fastest and most thrash-influenced would have to be “From the Land of the Living to the Land of the Dead” and its furious but infectious riff.
“Bringer of Vengeance” is where Kataklysm starts experimenting with some new ideas, beginning with someone whispering the title and a nice bass line, before exploding into some heavy stuff, occasionally contrasted with quieter but eerie riffs, and a few high screams to contrast with the mid-range growls. It’s a pretty bad ass revenge track. “The Redeemer” uses some of the same quiet eerie riffs and heavier ones, and is more successful at creating a dark and gripping atmosphere. It’s one of the most creative songs on the album. “Gravestones and Coffins” is just as eerie with its dark intro and weird guitar effects. However, the melody and vocals are mostly similar to the rest of the album. And finally, “The Sacrifice for Truth” ends the album on a fast riff with a cool melody and some heavy drumming, and a melancholic middle.
This album is a big blast of energy, with some cool lyrics about rebellion and revenge. It knows how to be fast and heavy, and also how to be sinister. However, I’m not really sure I loved it, I wouldn’t exactly call it a great album. Even though it has two moods, fast and sinister, it tends to be very repetitive for both kinds of songs. And at many moments, the album feels like it could have been made by any of the hundreds of average similar bands. It can be a little long to get through. Let’s say it’s the kind of album you appreciate more after a few listens. Indeed, it can really grow on you, and has some good qualities that could make many of you enjoy it despite its flaws. While you could do better, if you want something heavy and dark with rebellious themes, that album should satisfy your craving.
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