Review: “Sermon Of Apathy” by Desolator

For over a decade, Swedish Death Metallers Desolator have have been treading the hallowed ground and paying homage to the Stockholm Masters of yore. The buzzsaw guitar sound of their first trio of releases, including the triumphant “Unearthly Monument” record of 2013 saw Stefan Nordström (Guitars and Vocals), Joakim Rudemyr (Guitars and Vocals), Jonas Bergkvist (Bass and Vocals) and Victor Parri (Drums) decimate the weak and conquer all. 2016’s EP “Spawn of Misanthropy” then saw more of a Morbid Angel and Immolation influence take hold in their sound, something which is said to have given Black Lion Records the initiative to sign them for “Sermon Of Apathy“, but not before re-releasing the EP in 2018.

Mixing and Mastering with Jari Lindholm (Vitam Et Mortem, Monolithe, Cold Insight) while recording drums with Sverker “Widda” Widgren has helped Desolator capture their frenetically brutal live sound and bottle it for “Sermon Of Apathy“. The quartet are in a riotous mood from the very start of “Portal Tomb” which harks back to the American Death Metal sound of the early 80’s while offering some of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal moments the region is famed for, particularly in the almost mournful closing fade. The unstoppable gallop of “Adversarial Doctrine” is that of a Black Knight charging on unarmed villagers with his sword raised aloft, with bursts of blast beats and the savage blood throated roar of a vocalist whose voice separates skin from bone at twenty paces. By the time “Creatures Of Habit” surfaces with its sinister menacing undercurrent, it’s clear that Desolator have created something special. A record that not only sounds deliciously destructive in its own right, but also doesn’t stray too far from the genres Oak tree like roots. The progression from the bands of decades past to “Sermon Of Apathy” are as clear as the waters of a mountain stream.

The mid album cut “Methods of Self-deception” floats something more atmospheric that builds through chunky headbangable riffs to a pulveriser of a crescendo before the whirlwind of a brutal opening to “The Human Condition” raises the hairs on the back of your neck. What Desolator do incredibly well is the atmospheric drops in their Deathly soundscape that punch back within seconds and during this cut in particular, they have it down to a fine art. Staccato riff breaks with moments of ambient lead make for a fine listen. Stepping away from that into the groove laden “Vaticide” sees the band in a blood thirsty mood as both guitarists take it in turn to deliver venom spitting verses while the Thrash injected riffs and bass bleed through from Bergkvist makes for a stand out cut. “The Great Law of the Dead” is the final throw of the dice for Desolator on “Sermon Of Apathy” and the quartet go for the jugular by bringing in not one but two guests. Karl Sanders of Nile lends a hand with a solo while Oliver Palmquist of Phidion fame lends his throat on a near 9 minute cut of pure Death Metal fury. A helter skelter of pummeling rhythms and wave after wave of Death Metal riffs galore, it is a cut that would grace any Death Metal album, made all the more special with that elongated solo. If a friend asked you what Death Metal sounds like in 2020, this is the album to give them [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Portal Tomb
  2. Adversarial Doctrine
  3. Creatures Of Habit
  4. Methods of Self-deception
  5. The Human Condition
  6. Vaticide
  7. The Great Law of the Dead (ft Karl Sanders of Nile and Oliver Palmquist of Phidion)

Sermon Of Apathy” by Desolator is out 4th September via Black Lion Records and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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