Predatoria_Unmarked GravesIf we apply the maxim of “I didn’t feel like drinking until I started drinking” to listening to metal bands you’ve never heard before, I firmly believe that this fertile ground is where plenty of our favourite records are born. When I first listened to Belgium’s Predatoria in an effort to acclimatize myself to my temporary home’s up-and-coming death metal bands, I had no idea that what they were selling was exactly what I was looking to buy but here we are. In the time I’ve spent with their debut EP Unmarked Graves…Tell No Tales, it’s shot meteorically through my list of favorite records of 2015. I’m almost certain that it was universally missed this year, and that’s a bloody travesty.

Predatoria plays a form of death metal that’s essentially a hybridization of Bolt Thrower and Amon Amarth. This means punishing chugging battery led by the guitars, drums that are perfectly executed but blend into what the guitars are doing and emphasize the riffing instead of overpowering it, and a veritable extravaganza of melodic and crushing hooks. The melodic hooks come from vocalist Koen Dils, whose growls sound like a deadly mixture of three parts Chris Barnes and one part Dave Ingram with a knack for phrasing and vocal hits usually reserved for scene veterans. Unmarked Graves is an efficient and focused killing machine, and it’s almost baffling how refined these guys are given their scant recording history.

Like a death metal version of Khorne’s legions, Predatoria is focused solely on violence and Riffs for the Riff God. Throughout the entirety of Unmarked Graves, the band piles great riffs on top of other great riffs in coherent and interesting but not overly predictable song structures. “As the Flames Grow Higher” is a taut and catchy number with the best melodic hooks Amon Amarth never wrote and ruthlessly efficient time management. “Buried, Entrenched, and Defeated” moves through a series of chugging riffs that build on the intensity of the previous ones, and it makes for an exciting three and a quarter minutes that has an incredible amount of replay value. “Shot on Sight” perfectly recalls “Cenotaph” in its beginning, and the rest of the song follows suit in quality with a Panzer division’s worth of crushing riffs you won’t soon forget.

Predatoria_2016

In spite of all this, it’s during the grand finale of “Blooming and Falling” where Predatoria truly shine. It ratchets up the intensity of Amon Amarth‘s more introspective and sorrowful tunes and combines them with Bolt Thrower‘s mammoth riffcraft, climaxing with a phenomenal solo that recalls Anders Bjorler’s best work. Like Sulphur Aeon, this is melodic death metal that embraces both aspects of the name and sacrifices the best aspects of neither, synthesizing them into something at once brutal and exquisite.

It’s been a full decade since Bolt Thrower‘s cannons faded for the last time, and Predatoria is holding the front lines with a fierce bloodthirst with Unmarked Graves…Tell No Tales. Neither slavish emulation nor unmoored from tradition, Predatoria have released twenty minutes of insanely impressive music that’s worthy of every death metal fan’s time and attention. Highly recommended is an understatement.

Tracks to Check: “Blooming and Falling”, “As the Flames Grow Higher”, “Buried, Entrenched, and Defeated.”


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  • Aaron

    Well that sure sounds worth checking out. Thanks for the review!

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    I do dig this, I do. For a debut they sound surprisingly ready.

  • Worldeater

    “Like a death metal version of Khorne’s legions, Predatoria is focused solely on violence and Riffs for the Riff God.”
    You´ve got me right there!

    • “Riffs for the Riff God” – best bit of the review! m/

    • Siege Bantayan

      GROWLS FOR THE GROWL THRONE

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I’ve been trying to track down a digital version since seeing it on your year end list. But, it’s not on Bandcamp or iTunes. Seems only available on disk.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Yeah, I own the disc. Thankfully I don’t buy anything on digital, but it does seem like a weird oversight that they wouldn’t make a Bandcamp as an unsigned band and all…

      • Diego Molero

        Why don’t you buy anything digital? It’s the most accecible format of music

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          That’s fair. I just don’t like spending money on something I could easily just pirate for free and don’t own in a meaningful way. It’s also why I have a car from 2009 that I own instead of leasing one from 2015 or something. Also, I’ve got a nice stereo with a good CD player and whatnot.

          • Diego Molero

            Well that’s reasonable, I get your point, there is something very satisfaying in having the CD, even if you already own it digital and don’t use de CD

          • Alexandre Barata

            I buy the cd’s, save them on my PC as FLAC files and rarely use the physical copies. Still wouldn’t have it any other way, as a cd is much more than just the music, is owning a personal copy of the artwork too :)

          • Kmill

            I have a 2003 car I don’t want to part with because it has a great stereo and it plays only real discs. And I loved this song.

          • jageorge72

            Yeah. The day I can’t buy physical CD’s is the day I stop buying music.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Agreed.

          • Glad to read that I am not the last person on earth still buying cd’s!
            Bought my first digital album yesterday. Not something I expect to do again soon. It feels like throwing money out of the window: no artwork to look at or a booklet to read, just files that I could have pirated just as easily. The only motivation to buy it digitally was to avoid doubling the price of the album in shipping costs. Well, at least most of my money ended up with the musicians in this case.

      • “We only ship orders within Europe”
        – oh ffs guys. I listened to the song, thought it was great and was prepared to pay for the CD and then the same again if not more for shipping to Japan, and you’re all like “Ner ner you can’t have our CD nor a digital version”.

        Just fuck off. Fuck right off.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Only within Europe? That’s a bit of a head scratcher. These guys sound great, and I’d love to have the EP, but seriously? Are they trying to make an ideological point? I can’t say I’m an expert on the music biz, but this just doesn’t make sense. Why not use Bandcamp so people — the world over, mind you — can download your music and give you money? Hopefully their distribution model is a work in progress.

        • Philip Pledger

          Yeah, I’m with you there. Sure, it makes some amount of sense for an unsigned band to not want to ship internationally. Not doing digital distribution though? That’s just moronic, and it’ll cost them.

        • Grymm

          Seriously? That SUCKS.

          -a saddened Floridian

    • And lo!, as if by magic, a bandcamp page appears out of nowhere. I betcha it’s another one of those fake pages. I am starting to develop a sixth sense for those. The Myrath page looks dodgy to me too. Haven’t double-checked yet, so take what I say with a pinch of salt, but I surely won’t buy anything there before I get confirmation from the band which I will do asap. Oh and if anyone needs a physical copy, I will gladly order a few copies for you guys. Just let me know, I live in Helvetia ;-) Incidentally, I just discovered that the word “Helvete” means “hell” in Swedish and Norwegian. Can anyone confirm that? I had no idea my people where so hellish! Way to go!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Thanks, BlackLotus. Fingers crossed that it’s a legit page. And thanks for the offer, though I pretty much stick to digital releases these days.

        • No worries. Yeah, let’s hope. I also buy digital most of the time, but sometimes buying a CD almost costs as much in which case I’d rather get a physical copy. You can always give it away to a friend after copying it into your computer and earn the band another follower :-)

      • Worldeater

        The enemies of the Blood God are legion, maybe Tzeentch is the cause of this sudden digital release!
        Care to elaborate on the topic of fake bandcamp pages?

        • PanzerFistDominatrix

          Not sure about Tzeentch… there’s a higher probability that Nurgle (the real pornogrind O.G.) has regurgitated the disc and vomited a downloadable edition across da interwebz

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            Even Iron Maiden has joined the Unclean Side…:

      • I’m verifying with the band whether or not its theirs.

        • Awesome! I tried and wrote too but the address given on their Facebook page doesn’t seem to work…

          • Sucks that Bandcamp doesn’t have a way of dealing with that.

          • I know!? It shouldn’t be that hard to implement, though. Maybe they don’t deem it to be that important an issue to bother doing anything. Or they may be working on some improved version that will surface one day when we least expect it. Now that would be sweet.

        • There is a simple solution to this. If a band is on bandcamp, they should simply put a link to it under “About” on their Facebook page – they all have one! To me, it’s a no brainer. Don’t ask me why they almost never do that!

      • PanzerFistDominatrix

        Confirmed! I’m Danish and we spell it almost the same (helvede). Helvete was also the name of the infamous black metal shop in Oslo in the early BM years, run by Euronymous of Mayhem. Same dude that got even more infamous for taking photos of the suicide scene of the first Mayhem vocalist and used them as an album cover. Charming fella…

      • PanzerFistDominatrix

        Allow me to get etymological on you: In old Norse language ‘Hel’ was the name of the underworld and the goddess in charge down there. ‘Viti’ meant punishment, so ‘Helvete’ means “Hel’s punishment”. You can trace that root in the Danish ‘ slå ihjel’ which means ‘to kill/to put to death’. So, ‘ihjel’ is “i Hel’ meaning “in hell” and the act of sending someone there.

        • Cooool. Thanks for the explanation. First time I really feel proud of being Swiss.

      • Just asked the band, and they said the bandcamp page is legit.

        • Iliast

          “Booyakasha! You just made something awesome happen.”

        • Thanks for that. Much appreciated.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Ten seconds in from the embedded track and I’m already headbanging like crazy.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    How in Hell can this band possibly be unsigned?

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      When you consider the fact that Lil Jon has two 2x Platinum albums, the idea that these guys aren’t signed isn’t all too far-fetched

      • METAL OTTER

        Pity. Could have been signed to Lil Jon’s label if they had only named themselves PredatorYEEAAAHH OH-KAYY

        • PanzerFistDominatrix

          WHAT!??!

          • PanzerFistDominatrix

            “No need to even ask it, who’s the boss,
            when the dreadlocks swing and the roof come off…!”

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I don’t know who is Lil Jon…

  • brutal_sushi

    You sold me on “a hybridization of Bolt Thrower and Amon Amarth.”

  • Taleim

    Sounds good, bummer about no digital release, seeing as I don’t even own a CD player, so wouldn’t be buying the disc. Even my laptop doesn’t have a drive, never been an issue till this release.

  • Norfair Legend

    Yes, prepared to download instantly after hearing that awesome track and found that I can’t. C’mon guys, hope you read our comments and get with it…unless you really just don’t like us, that sucks but I respect it.

    *scratches head*

  • Grymm

    This is scratching the Bolt Thrower itch quite nicely.

  • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

    “Unmarked Graves…Tell No Tales, it’s shot meteorically through my list of favorite records of 2015” ( •_•)
    “Predatoria plays a form of death metal that’s essentially a hybridization of Bolt Thrower and Amon Amarth” ( •_•)>⌐■-■
    “Like a death metal version of Khorne’s legions, Predatoria is focused solely on violence and Riffs for the Riff God.” (⌐■_■) YEAAHHHHHHHHH

  • Daneel Olivaw

    Great band!!thanx for opening our eyes.

  • This is fun!

  • groverXIII

    You had me at “Bolt Thrower”.

  • Worldeater

    Thanks for the clarification!

    • Anytime. I am always happy to spread awareness!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Predatoria’s comment on their FB page to a query about a digital release was posted yesterday at 11am: “we’ll get back to u on this asap! (we’ve been getting a few messages and e-mails regarding this).”

    So, a little odd that they haven’t commented on this bandcamp page. You also usually see more of a write-up on bandcamp pages — about the band, a blurb about their kind of music, etc. All this leads me to think it might not be legit. Oh well, wait and see.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I’m glad you guys brought up fake Bandcamp pages, because I had no idea that was a thing. A pitiful way to make a dishonest buck.

  • Luke_22

    Nice find.This is very cool, jumping on their Bandcamp now to snag a copy..

  • …agents of riffery drunk on pure unalloyed joy of riding spike of riff built hit to the hilt…

  • De2013

    This album is excellent! Thank you for reviewing and showing me what a gem it is! Head banging all the way during my commute to and from work.