Now the most wonderful thing about death metal can also be its downfall. So many albums come across as just being about how fast and brutal one can play their instruments. Don’t get me wrong, a majority of the time I love having my eardrums melted just like every other metal listener, but sometimes I find myself skipping over a bunch of songs on my iPod that sound the same, to finally landing on one that is full of memorable chords and melody.
For this review, I picked the sophomore album, “Kingdom of Worms,” released on F.D.A. Rokotz, from the German death metal trio Deserted Fear, who have been compared to Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, and Hail of Bullets. But first I had to do some homework by catching up on their debut album, “My Empire.” It was released in 2012 to positive reviews, and after listening to the album, I was impressed with their in-your-face aggression. I’m pleased to report that “Kingdom of Worms” follows the same formula, but this time around, Deserted Fear add a bit more melody to the mix.
Before the ruthless assault on your brain, the album starts with ‘Intro,’ 1:22 of foreboding horns and creepy church choir singing. The kind of music you find in a horror movie that sends a chill down your spine. Other than the hauntingly beautiful acoustic guitars on the brief track ‘Torn by Hatred,’ the band uses their musicianship to create catchy grooves, which are achieved by Simon Meng’s thunderous drumming, Fabian Hildebrandt‘s booming bass and Hildebrandt and Manuel Glatter carpet-bombing you with riffs of mass destruction. Also just like my statement above, most death metal vocals can come across sounding like Cookie Monster and needing a translator. Glatter‘s voice comes off as refreshingly comprehensible while never losing its savagery throughout the album.
Some of my favorite tracks are ‘The Agony,’ ‘Kingdom of Worms’ and ‘Call Me Your God.’ They kept my head banging and I had a great time shredding my custom-made air guitar. On songs like ‘Last of the Fading Kind,’ ‘Shattering the Soil’ and ‘The Agony,’ the drums have a fair amount of thrash influence that left my arms weary due to breaking so many air drum sticks.
Bottom line, “Kingdom of Worms” is a devastating album that goes straight for your jugular vein. Thanks to the mixing and mastering of Dan Swano, it is an album you can listen to and appreciate that every instrument is delightfully balanced but never loses its choke hold grip on your throat. Now I just hope that when I’m track hopping with my iPod on “Random,” it won’t take long to land a song from this album.