Flipping through the promo list reminds me of flipping through CDs at the local record shop. Yes, that record store may have gone out of business a decade ago, but nostalgia clings to me like penile parasites. CD cases click, my mouse clicks; new releases occupy the top of the shelf of the “Metal” section, new releases occupy the head of the promo list; discs are aimlessly flipped through, promos are aimlessly flipped through. But every-so-often I happen across a new release I was not expecting. For instance, when Centinex‘s name appeared on the promo list, I was (un)pleasantly surprised. I even assumed it was a sick joke; faxing Steel without delay to confirm that Centinex indeed had a new album out [By “fax” he means paging my beeper. – Steel Luddite]. OK, so I knew the band hadn’t dissolved (again), but a year-and-a-half turnaround for a new album was quite a surprise. Following 2014’s comeback album, Redeeming the Filth, the band appears far from done. Their blood is up and this new(er) lineup is in search of those Swedeath days of yore.
But when it comes to this year’s Doomsday Rituals, allow me be blunt. Fans of Redeeming the Flesh will, no doubt, enjoy the band’s newest release. Others, looking for more from these Swedish death-metal pioneers, will not. Like it’s predecessor, Doomsday Rituals has an old-school sound tinged with modernization. To be more specific, the music is standard, heavy-as-fuck Swedish death. The band mixes mid-paced with fast, rasps with barks, and melody with aggression. But its simplicity inhibits its originality, forever decreasing the album’s staying power. It’s the kind of music your earbuds would love to shove down your sound holes in revenge for the wax crusting on your lobes. But, it isn’t that you don’t know how to use soap and a washcloth that makes Doomsday Rituals the perfect revenge. Instead, it’s the lack of umph and originality that gives your ear fuckers the upper hand. With some stronger songwriting, your shitty Skull Candy buds would be defenseless. But, Doomsday Rituals makes you wish you had spent those precious twenty dollars on Q-tips.
Yet, opener “Flesh Passion” is here to show the good doctor what is up. After a simple album introduction, “Flesh Passion” morphs into one of the heaviest riffs of the album. Centinex lover, Centinex hater; this song is sure to crack all necks in unison. Not only is the riff killer, but its three-minute length hints at the band’s dedication to AMG’s Golden Rule: less is more. “Generation of Flies” and “Exist to Feed” also share the opener’s passion for crushing grooves. Both tracks attack like “Flesh Passion,” but clatter with Vader-like locomotion.
“Faceless” is also strong, closing the album as strong as it opened. And “Doomsday,” the sly mid-album instrumental, provides a soothing intermission amidst the chaos. Unfortunately, Doomsday Rituals is not all about cohesiveness. The Hypocrisy-like rasps and melody of “Dismemberment Supreme,” unfortunately, result in a chorus better suited for a deranged pizza commercial. But “Death Decay Murder,” without a doubt, has the most absurd lyrics on the album. It single-handed makes the line, “die, motherfucker, die,” sound like a Christmas carol. And “From Intact to Broken” and “Sentenced to Suffer” do no better, zapping most of the life from the album with short run-times providing nothing more than noise.
If anything, the newest version of Centinex proves that a burned-out Swedish style can be quasi-enjoyable. It’s not original, it’s not worth the vinyl, but it does have remarkable perseverance. Doomsday Rituals has a decent production job (increasing one DR point to Redeeming the Flesh), but the impact is still compressed. If you are looking for some standard Swedish death, you can’t go wrong with Centinex. The riffs are there, the vocals are there, and the death is there. If you want groundbreaking music, you might as well look elsewhere.