Released: 2014, Selfmadegod Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
I’m not sure if perhaps something got lost in the translation from Polish to English, or vice versa, but Calm Hatchery is probably the least death metally band name in all of death metal – not to mention, it really doesn’t seem to make a lick of sense.
But no bother. The quartet, who hail from the northern part of the country near Gdańsk, home of the mighty Behemoth, are quite fluent in the international language of technical death metal - with a hint of Eastern mysticism. The band's third album hits the mark dead on most of time, and that's what counts more than anything.
Fans of Morbid Angel/Hate Eternal, Nile, Melechesh and Polish countrymen Vader, Decapitated and Behemoth will feel right at home with Fading Reliefs. A bit more compact and less extravagant than most of aforementioned bands, Calm Hatchery's attack mode perhaps most closely echoes Vader's blunt-force tactics with its surging riffs, full-frontal, blast beat-fueled tempos and Marcin Szczepański scabrous vocals.
But they do have a certain flair for the dramatic, offering elaborate arrangements and soaring dogfight guitar solos from the get-go with “Sun of God” and “Flaming Prophecies.” “Illusory World” offers a nifty backsliding hook amid the tumult for some about-face contrast. “Blessing of Mantra” and the epic “The Eternal Cycle” lay the Eastern vibe on a bit thicker, with chanted choruses and serpentine instrumentation.
Yet at eight-plus minutes, “The Eternal Cycle” is a bit of an aberration here – though a rather dazzling one at that. The other eight tracks are much shorter – at half the length or less - and comparatively tight. Indeed, Calm Hatchery are models of efficiency by most tech-death standards – taking it to the extreme with the blistering 2:18 “Awakening The State of Bodhi.”
The somewhat ponderous, and markedly slower, “In The Midst of Nothingness” wraps things up with a bit of a thud. It sounds a bit too Morbid Angely and might have been a better fit at the album's midpoint, instead of the war anthem odd-duck “Bomben Uber Warschau,” which is repeated at album's end in Polish as “Bomby Nad Warzawa.” But it's the only real misstep here and certainly doesn't spoil an otherwise stellar outing from this curious but remarkably capable band.