Review: Shodan “Death, Rule Over Us” [Deformeathing Productions]

Review: Shodan “Death, Rule Over Us” [Deformeathing Productions]

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Summary
85 %
User Rating : 4.9 (1 votes)

Shodan have stepped up the plate with their latest album and promptly smashed it over your head. The pulverising Poles are in destructive mood on their sophomore release. Once more they kick through the debris of death metal although the label does them a disservice as they filter out into a variety of nuanced metallic soundplays.

The seven tracks that make up Death, Rule Over Us cast over 42 minutes ignites with the blistering “Breslau,” full of sergeant major barrack-room barks and a primal beat that sends your brain cells flying in all directions, not all of which return to their usual place.

Shodan are much more than mere wrecking balls though and on “Fuel to Grandeur” they unleash some commanding grooves while losing none of their serrated edge, drummer Michał Jarosz building up the tempo for maximum impact and almost pulling his arms from their sockets in the process. It’s breathtaking stuff and shows how Shodan have successfully built on their fine debut album Protocol of Dying (2016).

At just over eight minutes, “Doomsday Melody” is the album’s longest track. After a discombobulating start which is the musical equivalent of trying to decipher a menu in a foreign language, the Poles settle into something approaching a more discernible groove, albeit one complete with a smattering of cymbals from Michał Jarosz and vocalist Szczepan Inglo snarling above the melee.

Things do settle into a more sedate sequence, very unlike Shodan, almost as if they are taking a step backwards to proudly stand and survey the carnage that they have wreaked. After taking on a deeper more atmospheric feel Shodan slowly wind things up towards a tumultuous peak, even finding time to sandwich in a satisfying solo.

The opening rhythmic throb on “Ray of Darkness” sounds like some pre-battle party around an Apache totem pole before the warpaint is applied and arrows sharpened. The incessant chugging gets straight under your skin and by forgoing some speed the overall impact from Shodan is all the greater.

With a song title such as “Primordial Incest” it can’t be anything less than a bludgeoning battery of aggression and as such Shodan score a direct hit with this five-minute inferno of hate. The Polish trio – with Tomasz Sadlak (also of fellow Poles Hate) completing the line-up with his plunging basslines – have time to paint some broader strokes on “I Have Crowned Myself” before finishing with a flourish on the livewire title track.

There’s a lot going on across these seven songs which have benefitted from the mix and mastering of maestro Jakub Mańkowski (Entropia, Obscure Sphinx, Jordan Rudess) while the rat-infested sleeve created by Łukasz Pach is certain to send anyone with murophobia to their bed for a very uncomfortable night’s sleep.

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Paul Castles

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