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Deathcode Society
December 2015
Released: 2015, Osmose Productions
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

France's Deathcode Society take a journey back to the glory days of Scandinavian-style symphonic black metal with their debut album that, rather fittingly, concludes with a near spot-on cover of Emperor's “With Strength I Burn” - though it follows a rather curious cover of Judas Priest's “Metal Meltdown.”

Eschatonizer opens in full regalia with the blast furnace “Pandemonium 1.1,” a veritable feast of galloping drums, swirling keyboards, cascading riffs and shimmering tremolos, and unrepentant grandiosity over its seven-plus minutes, echoing the majesty of Emperor's In The Nightside Eclipse and the power of IX Equilibrium. “NooS” follows in a similar vein, but with more of an Enthrone Darkness Triumphant-era Dimmu Borgir aura in its growled/shouted vocals and opulent choral section midway through.

The rest of the album pretty much plays out in a similar fashion, serving and volleying between these two styles, but adding industrial/electronic tinges throughout – notably on the massive, 10-minute “The Mark of Cain” and the nine-minute “The Inner Vortex” - and employing a host of guest vocalists, both of which turn out to be smart moves. These embellishments help give each song at least some semblance of a distinct personality they otherwise might not have in their more basic form, given that underlying influences of much of the music are so obvious.

The brash, full-sounding production by Dave Otero (Cattle Decapitation, etc.) brings everything together in a thunderous glory here. Given that all seven of the original tracks are at least six minutes long, they sound deservedly epic and the symphonic/industrial elements mingle well with the expansive black metal - it's just too bad it all seems so familiar.

The inclusion of “With Strength I Burn” doesn't help in that regard – especially given Deathcode's note-perfect adaptation. Perhaps that's reason for the “Metal Meltdown” rehash, which offers something of a blackened treatment, but is still quite faithful. As a high-profile head fake, it's a clever ploy, but one that loses its impact with repeated listens.

In the end, Eschatonizer is a great sounding album by a band with impressive chops and able songwriting, but no distinct self-identity. The covers only make it seem more like a tribute album and less like a bold introduction. Perhaps next time Deathcode will insert more of themselves into the mix.
Track Listing

1. Pandaemonium 1.1
2. NooS
3. The Mark of Cain
4. Nails
5. The Inner Vortex
6. Pigrimage
7. Seraphic Requiem
8. Metal Metldown
9. With Strength I Burn


Arnhwald - vocals, guitar
David - guitar
Franz - guitar
Nicolas - bass
Gregoire - drums

Other reviews

» Eschatonizer
by Peter Atkinson

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