Released: 2002, Independent
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Fatal is a young band hailing from France who were nice enough to send me a copy of their 2002 self-released debut full-length, ESKHATON. I admit that I do not know a whole lot about this band because whatever promo sheet that was included has probably found its way into one of the countless piles of paper that I acquire. Perhaps I shall find it while studying my pharmacy notes before finals…hahaha.
In any case, what I do know about Fatal comes from their website. Formed in 1997, Fatal already had 2 demos, a split, and an EP under their belts before ESKHATON was released in 2002. Apparently, the musical backgrounds of the band members is a diverse mix of death, thrash, and hardcore, but the music of Fatal is straight death metal with a heavy thrash infusion.
With 10 songs to deliver in only 35 minutes, Fatal don’t bother messing around with intros, interludes, or whatnot, instead jumping right ahead into “Anakhendavia” starting with some very thrashy riffs amid a crashing death metal song. While the drums blast on, the guitars go through plenty of varying riffs. The frenzy of this song reminds me somewhat of a mid-period Death mixed with a somewhat less thrashy Defleshed. Mmmm…Defleshed. A nice surprise breaks things up with a very brief, but highly melodic classic metal solo at around 1:42. “Ze Massacra” is up now, the shortest song on the album at only 2:46. The main riffs here are a little more melodic, but no less intense than the previous song. There are some start-stop moments in this song that I really don’t care for, but thankfully, they are very minor. The album continues on in the same vein of quality thrash-death, but the next five tracks blow quickly by (the album is only 35 minutes in length, too) with most tracks in the middle of the album sounding very similar. Track 8, “Force of God” breaks up the repetition with an acoustic intro that brings the song to an almost mid-paced march broken that breaks stride only a few brief times for some quick sessions of blasty, grindy bits. The final track, “Danse avec Nemesis” closes out with a more typical straight death metal approach.
ESKHATON is a fine first effort by Fatal. The band really has their skills together with John and Olivier laying down some intense and meaty riffs through each song, then pulling out unexpectedly kickass solo. Lhrac’s vocals provide a nice range, from a deep growl to the more frequently used throaty rasp/growl. The drums are also nicely done, refraining from a heavy reliance on blastbeats, although I feel that they could stand to be a little more intense. Fatal’s consistency is also a slight weakness for the band. For only 35 minutes of metal on the album, I noticed that some of the songs started to get repetitive. This is not necessarily a bad thing: Defleshed has made their consistency a winning formula.
Despite my misplacement of the promo literature that came with the album, ESKHATON is very well packaged for an independent release. Although the disc itself is a CDR, the production is clean and distinct. Additionally, the full-colour inserts are beautifully printed on very heavy paper so that the finished product looks and sounds as good as a professional CD.