Review: Spiritworld ”Deathwestern” [Century Media Records]

Review: Spiritworld ”Deathwestern” [Century Media Records]

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Sergio Leone disagrees.

Well, what a premise! After reading about the upcoming Spiritworld record and its Wild West-influenced style and theme, I could hardly await the release of this band’s sophomore effort. A concise running time (about 35 minutes overall) prettified with some great cover art, along with an introductory track setting the Fallout meets From Dusk Till Dawn mood, did a lot to boost my expectations.

Sadly, Deathwestern did not quite live up to the musical standards I foolishly anticipated it to showcase. After said intro track’s acoustic guitars put us right in the middle of a 1960s Sergio Leone flick, we are being pummeled by rather simplistic thrash and groove metal riffs, which are – albeit thick in tone and meticulously produced, just straddling the line between common B-grade Slayer fingerboard-craft and Lamb of God-style chugging. The vocals are delivered in a similar vein but sound a lot closer to the more distorted metalcore fry of the latter band plus a few reminiscences of The Haunted and contemporary combos.

Too bad their singer regularly struggles with keeping his mouth shut to let the music breathe. His lines are hardly intelligible (not much of a fault in this style of yelling, though apparently, the lyrics are about some Satan-tinged violence in a post-apocalyptic world) and since they are not really my cup of tea, I wish I could focus some more on my caveman instincts leaning out to these banging, punchy riffs and that busy drumming instead of being overwhelmed by the excessive vocal attack.

Though my main gripe with this album remains the lack of variation between songs; I can name two or perhaps three highlights that stand out and really kick some ass because there is zero doubt that these guys mean it when they’re throwing their fists at you, but the frequent utilization of stock-variant groove metal riffs and the one-dimensional writing is quite a turnoff, so even the short runtime tends to become a burden. I can’t blame this on the band entirely, since my expectations towards this album had been misleading to a more classic death/thrash sound by a number of press releases right off the bat.

Surely “Ulcer” and “Committee of Buzzers” are two personal highlights, with the former offering many of the better groove moments of the record while “Committee…” succeeds in storytelling (the usage of witty samples actually works) and a thrashier approach, investing in extra tempo and riff variation, while cooking up a neck snapper of a breakdown.  The closer “1000 Deaths” arouses my interest one more time since it manages to actually reconnect with the acoustic picking and atmospheric traits that “Mojave Bloodlust” already hinted at in the beginning, but sadly it kind of falls apart as soon as the distortion sets in, which turns on the repetition-mode again.

Fans of metal, death, and hardcore could surely find some more gold in their Deathwestern-filters but as it stands, I’m gonna keep these two tracks in my playlist but will have to keep looking for another post-apocalyptic treasure exuding some actual radiated end-of-the-world-feelings like Hypocrisy‘s The Fourth Dimension or even Carnivore‘s Retaliation.

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