3 Jul 2014

Armagedon - Thanatology [Full length] (2013, Mystic Production)

Go digging around in Poland's heavy metal history and you'll come up with quite a few gems. Only a few Polish metal bands exist in the mind of the general populace, some of the more prominent ones being Behemoth, Vader, Dead Infection, Graveland and Kat, only a few of which have their roots in the 80's. Then there's Armagedon from Kwidzyn, Poland. Their carreer originally stretched from 1987 to 1994 where they released a few demos and the album "Invisible Circle". In 2006 the original members, the Maryniewski brothers, again picked up the mantle of Armagedon, going on to release the moderately appreciated "Death Then Nothing" album in 2009 and finally "Thanatology" in 2013.

Aside from an introductory section of the opening track, Helix, which sounds like something lifted from a Paul W.S. Anderson film, the new incarnation of the band offers brutally chiseled death metal, carved from the same material that gave us Vader, Sphere, Embrional, Empatic and Hate. The album reflects a certain respect for where death metal has come from, but also a desire to show where death metal should go. Through a presentation of highly kinetic songwriting and commendably immersive production the various fluctuations between grave melodies and simpler, more primal elements the Thanatology album achieves the fine balance between various subgenres to make the release an everflowing stream of interesting and modern angles on a genre that has already been thoroughly mapped and explored.

There is a certain duality to be found within the music of Armagedon. This schizophrenia comes mainly at the hands of the many different elements brought to use in their tracks. Where songs like Cemeteries focuses on eerie, drawn out aspects, a shorter opus like Self Destruction feels significantly more primitive and primordial in both its composition and its delivery. Slawomir's hollow growls neatly puts the finishing touches on the glorious monument to death metal created by the effective rhythms and gruesome riffs provided by the rest of the band, convincingly showing off the internal dynamics achieved between the band members. But - Because there's always a but - in the long run and the grand scheme of things Thanatology lacks hooks. The album deserves a few listenes from any death metal fanatic, but it never soars above being merely thoroughly enjoyable. The grueling song Altar of Death and Vultures both have the gist of classics in them, but common between all the tracks is that they arbitrarily shift between tremolos, chugs and various melodies set to blastbeats or double-pedal punishment at the drummer's discretion. The inaudibility of the lyrics makes it feel like the lyrical content doesn't matter at all, and when held to the incredibly high standard set by many of their peers, Armagedon just doesn't quite compare. 7/10 guitars.

1. Helix
2. Vultures
3. Cemeteries
4. Self Destruction
5. Altar of Death
6. Black Seed
7. Corridor
8. Tragic Journey

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