Earlier this year, a thrash record that implements large amounts of technicality hit the scene, coming from the Swedish group known as Defiatory. Hades Rising is their sophomore effort, and it’s one of those albums that pushes the boundaries of the thrash genre but not so much that it barely even shows its roots. Picture the late ‘80s: the legendary thrashers started really tightening up their writing style and mixed in some more extreme playing styles. Their combative character certainly went very well with the themes touching on war, tragedy, and their evident distaste of religion and God.
Saying that black metal or death metal make a real appearance in Hades Rising would be a bit of a stretch, but there’s some clear extreme metal leanings piled on thicker than the average thrashers. The drums are absolutely thunderous and fire away at a thousand miles per hour to accompany the more melodic sections, particularly in the choruses. This definitely radiates melodic death metal rays. “Dance Of The Dead” packs in so much that it’s almost hard to believe the run time is under five minutes. Something this band does very well is to inject these complex tactics into the work, while still managing to make the songs flow with solid transition. Most of the vocals are raspy but clean enough to understand, but they definitely sneak some growls in there to keep us on our toes, too.
The lead guitars carry a lot of the weight musically here, as it’s probably the biggest standout feature. Indeed, some of the rhythm sections can get a bit repetitive despite the advanced lead sections. Songs like “Stronger Than God” display this in the opening with riffs that almost sound like they were re-used. The chorus saves this track by tacking in higher notes that are speed-picked, with harsher than normal vocals laid atop, but there’s no denying these subtle defects. To be honest, I actually think the slower tracks display better rhythms on the fret board. “King In Yellow” borders close to doom territory, as it’s far slower and more direct. Defiatory could without a doubt have pulled off doing doom metal.
Overall, this is a bit of a confusing release. It goes from some of the most incredible chops with strong complexion to dull one-sided tracks that go nowhere. Drums go from insane clicking with monstrous beats to some overused patterns. Vocals go from monotonous one minute to beefy and robust in another. And then there are songs like “Down To His Kingdom” that are almost catchy, and throw melodic curve balls that are almost led by actual singing. So it’s very hard to pinpoint the right audience for this release. Fans of Havok, At The Gates, or later Testament would probably enjoy this.
You can pick up Hades Rising (released on Black Lion Records), as well as a bundle with their debut album Extinct from the Bandcamp page.