In a year overrun by a murderous pandemic stealing the lives of the best part of a million innocent people, the genre of death metal seems more appropriate than ever – particularly from bands who like to explore death and its effects on society and culture throughout history.
Said themes are what drive one of the finest and most impressive albums to have graced this critic’s eardrums this year, and it comes from British/Polish outfit Dying Vision. A band with a vision of making the best death metal ever, and they have not fallen behind one iota with their new release: “The Death and its Slaughter.”
Where do I begin with this audible treasure? From the moment you hit the play button vocalist, Richard Ashton has you in the palm of his hand – or more appropriately a chokehold as the music slices right into you like a surgeon’s blade. His vocals are more than enough to rival the greats like John Tardy or Barney Greenway; imagine an entire mass grave of fallen souls arising from their festering tombs to reign infectious terror on the world. Drumming is almost militant in style and gathers momentum as the horrors and might of the tunes stab into your brain like a hail of arrows.
Dying Vision have been on the melodic ends of the DM spectrum for most of their career, but here we see some excellent incorporation of classic, old school and some technicalities, as shown by bassist Owen Padfield and drummer See-King. I recommend “Burning Shadows” and “Testimony of the Fallen,” to show just how much longevity this band has in their performance.
Precision is everywhere on all tracks, with “Horrifying Pattern of Mind” throwing all melodies out the window, and “Lost in the Darkness” taking a slightly subversive take on blast beats and musical theory, upping the band’s credibility as diverse and versatile musicians. There’s some use of blackened riffs here and there and an atmosphere of sorts is present, giving the album a suspenseful eeriness.
In their press release, the band say they are aiming at telling a story on each track, and I can definitely see tunes like “Human Condition” detailing the woes of a mental breakdown of an individual or society with what death and suffering can bring. I find this album to be a well-paced, finely produced amalgamation of all talents exhibited by every member of the band, a band which has seen a fair few line-up changes and now bears some excellent musicians in its ranks.
It is ironic how a year of suffering, disease and death has birthed some hugely impressive music from the most extreme genres of metal, and Dying Vision are riding high above their contemporaries with their musical aplomb. Add “The Death and its Slaughter” to your collection if DM is your jam and you want to know which band to go to when faced with a situation as seen by the people of 2020.