Review Date: January 2021
Released: 2020, Independent
Here’s an unusual one for you – some death metal with melodic touches from Malaysia! Purbawara have released the single “Servants of Alamin” from their upcoming full-length release WITHERING.
Right off the bat you can tell Purbawara mean business. “Servants of Alamin” starts off with some pummeling guitars, along with theatrical-sounding keys that give the song a very epic sound. The production sounds good and the drumming is relentless. I thought the guitar solo matched the epic sound of the keys very well.
While this track is not lacking in creativity or brutality, what is missing is intelligible vocals. I’ve been listening to death metal for 30 years – and I’ve gotten pretty good at deciphering guttural growls – but not here. I’m assuming the lyrics are in English but I’m not even sure at this point. Not that I always expect clear pronunciation. For example, if I’m listening to some fine SLAM such as Analepsy, Short Bus Pile Up, or Prostitute Disfigurement then I don’t expect to be able to follow all of the lyrics. But if a death metal band wants to be considered along with the likes of Sadistic Embodiment or Skeletal Remains then clear(er) vocals is just something that has to be included.
Purbawara definitely get points for putting out some brutal music from a region of the world that isn’t known for it – and I really admire that. They are a young band and I suspect they will only get better going forward.
For the bands out there that send us albums to review: I know everything is done electronically these days (which I hate), but it really helps us if you include a digital version of the liner notes and lyrics, as well as bios and label details.