Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Released almost exactly a year to the day after debut For the Fallen, the second album from UK death metal veterans Memoriam is now upon us, and The Silent Vigil is even more impressive than its predecessor. Whilst For the Fallen showcased a commendable mix of old-school crust and classic UKDM, The Silent Vigil feels much more refined – and no less furious or passionate. The songs (and album as a whole) flow better, with shifts in tempo and style feeling more natural, and the band firing on all cylinders. This is especially notable in the lyrics – it’s delightful to hear such a big band record such explicitly anti-fascist, anti-war, and anti-racist songs.
Of course, UK death metal has always owed a debt to left-leaning music, given that so many of its original bands (and current biggest names) grew out of the 80’s crust and punk scenes. As such, it’s no surprise to find the politics of bands like Crass running through the UK death metal old-guard, and that’s really brought to the fore on The Silent Vigil, especially in the anti-racist ‘Bleed the Same’. When wedded to such crushing music, it makes the album one that is both hugely enjoyable, but also depressingly relevant. It’ll be a good day when songs like this are no longer needed, but until then, Memoriam will keep on fighting the good fight.
The Silent Vigil is available via the Nuclear Blast webstore.