Label: Gore House Productions
I’ll admit, I’m not fully up to speed on death metal these days. Generally, when I want some death metal action, I turn to the genre stalwarts (Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, Cannibal Corpse etc); something a bit more esoteric and strange (such as Portal and Antediluvian); or the really monstrous likes of Dead Congregation and Teitanblood. I’m aware of the brutal death metal and slam styles, but, up until now, hadn’t really heard any of it that grabbed me for more than a listen. Well, with Prologue To The Apocalypse, Bloodscribe have created an album that have me thinking that maybe there’s something to this style after all; it’s catchy, it’s heavy, and it’s pretty damn addictive.
Even a relative neophyte like me can tell that what Bloodscribe do is hardly revolutionary, but that doesn’t stop it being a worthwhile listen. Right from the introductory title track, the band throw thick, heavy riffs at you, striking the right note between heaviness and catchiness that characterises so much classic death metal. The drums know when to blast at full speed and when a slower tempo will suit the song better, and there’s a few nice symbol accents at points too that help give the songs extra texture and character – even if that texture is still as heavy as a really heavy thing. The vocals, meanwhile, are exactly what you’d expect (and want) from this style – deep, incomprehensible grunts that are wonderfully powerful and depraved.
It’s not the longest of albums – 25 minutes in total – but really, that is no bad thing. Death metal like this is meant to be exhausting, and Prologue To The Apocalypse is just the right length to be satisfying without feeling too short or like an endurance test. It’s an album that begs for, and rewards, repeat listens. And perhaps surprisingly for a genre that has often come across as very one-dimensional to me, there’s a nice amount of variety. “Kingdoms Fall” features an awesome punked-up riff that moves in to a moment of superb blasting, and the contrast in styles is exhilarating. These songs never simply sit and ride a riff or tempo out to death, but are constantly twisting and turning, switching speeds and applying little breaks. Even the shorter songs – such as the 78 seconds of “Annihilation” – feature a decent amount of variation that make them feel longer than they actually are (in a good way, of course).
Of course, there may be extra dimensions that listeners more familiar with this style than I can pick out, but it’s worth repeating that almost every other time I’ve listened to this style of death metal, I’ve found it to grow quite dull rather quickly. That the same can’t be said of Prologue To The Apocalypse is a great compliment to the album.