Deathstorm – For Dread Shall Reign Review

I’m not sure how many times I’ve referenced Death in my reviews this year — and I’m too lazy to go back and check — but I feel like it’s been more often than would usually be expected. It seems like more and more bands are embracing the unique musical and vocal stylings that Chuck unleashed upon the world during his tragically short life, and I see this growing tribute movement as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it shows that Schuldiner’s legacy is alive and well, his genius living on as intellectual stardust in the body of work created by his imitators. On the other, it’s hard not to be disappointed when you listen to something that sounds like Death and have it not actually be fucking Death. Live Burial’s recent release shows what happens when a band is able to not only capture the sound, but the spirit, of the masters. Well, dark clouds are gathering, so let’s see what happens when Austria’s Deathstorm drops their fourth full-length For Dread Shall Reign into the ongoing Death-influenced cage match.

This band certainly puts the Death in Deathstorm. Just check out embedded single and album closer “Human Individual Metamorphosis” — the name alone seems to be a nod to their heroes. Vocalist Mac’s voice and delivery are almost identical to Schuldiner’s, and the song’s structure makes it feel like it could fit well on Human with its progressing movements of varied death metal. Guitarist Feri cooks up some fantastic riffs on the track, giving it a sense of authenticity, even if the intro section of his solo feels a bit simplistic and out of place for the style. Opener “Unforgotten Wounds” continues the Death worship with a thrashing track that wouldn’t be too out of place on Symbolic.

And that thrash aspect is where the band adds the storm to their Death. Slayer and early Kreator are channeled extensively, landing Deathstorm squarely in the camp of death/thrash. “Bloodlusted” and “Sulphuric Scents” both have intro riffs that are just Slayer AF, but while the former hangs around well south of heaven, the latter moves north into Metallica territory with its melodic chord progressions and leads. “The Mourning” is a short acoustic interlude that seriously reminds me of GNR’s “Civil War,” and it leads directly into “Funereal Depths,” a track that sounds like Beneath the Remains-era Sepultura mixed with Death. Overall, Deathstorm has integrated their influences in such a way that For Dread Shall Reign feels fresh and alive despite the familiarity that the listener will surely feel throughout the entire listen.

I previously alluded to the simplicity of Feri’s solos, and that’s probably the one drawback on For Dead Shall Reign. He cooks up some great blazing solos here and there, but some of the slower ones just lack the emotional fire that seems to be required by these songs. Chuck used restrained melodic solos on many Death tracks, but he was able to imbue them with a tremendous amount of genuine emotion, something that seems to be lacking among Deathstorm’s more subdued leads. No matter your feelings about the music itself, the production is authentically organic and old-school sounding and avoids the immense modern thrash crunch that many bands opt for these days. This aids tremendously in the band’s attempt to capture the spirit of the era during which their heroes ruled the metal world.

While not as strong as Live Burial’s effort to channel Chuck’s spirit from the great metal beyond, For Dread Shall Reign is still sure to please fans of all the bands mentioned above. And at the time of this writing, the digital version can be yours for one stinking Euro on Deathstorm’s Bandcamp page. At that price, what do you have to lose other than one stinking Euro?

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dying Victims Productions
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: July 31st, 2020

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