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Review: Acranius – Reign of Terror

Acranius album art

German brutal slamming death metal tyrants Acranius have been tearing up the scene since 2009. They have released 2 previous albums, an EP and toured both Europe and the United States with the likes of Ingested and Within Destruction. On January 27th, 2017, the band will drop their 3rd full-length named Reign of Terror through Rising Nemesis Records.

Acranius are renowned for their unrelenting heaviness and this album certainly is no exception. It’s filled to the brim with seemingly every form of heaviness; expect megaton slams, eye popping breakdowns, heavy grooves and a high dose of guttural brutality and you’ll still be pleasantly surprised with what this album has to offer. In comparison to their last release, Dishonour, the tracks seem to be better structured and have a little more variation which is very welcome- it’s no secret that some Brutal Slamming Death Metal (or BSDM) can become very repetitive. This record is definitely groovier and even slightly techier and the riffs flow so much better than Dishonour.

The production is also undeniably superior to anything Acranius have previously released. Every instrument has its own space in the mix but without sounding too clear- there is still a raw feel that is much desirable for that iconic death metal sound. The addition of bass drops also add extra punch to the songs heaviest slams and breakdowns. The vocals sound more gurgley and grim, and the layering is carefully but effectively placed in each song.

Acranius band photo

My only qualm would be that the rest of the band have branched out and enhanced their abilities and composition (albeit only slightly), yet Kevin hasn’t expanded his vocal range much and for me that’s a bit of a shame. Don’t get me wrong though, his vocals are still great and he certainly isn’t the only vocalist to stick to one or two techniques- in fact I’d go as far as to say it’s the norm in the genre- but while the rest of the band blur the lines of sub genres with their writing, Kevin’s vocals firmly remain death metal. I hope to see him give high screams and mids a go in future releases and I believe this would further expand their sound and audience!

While I’m certainly no expert on the genre being a fairly new fan of BSDM, the band seem to have been part of something I can only describe as the rise of slam; from the late 2000s/early 2010s bands such as Acranius, Within Destruction, Ingested, Abominable Putridity and many others have combined BSDM with influences from other sub genres of metal. For instance, Within destruction are arguably a Deathcore band that take influence from BSDM but blend the genres to perfection. Acranius do the same by having influences of hardcore, groove and hints of deathcore, making their music both crushingly heavy and accessible to a variety of audiences in the underground metal scene. This has caused a massive increase in popularity for the genre and there’s no doubt it’s still growing.

Reign of Terror, while not being exceptionally different from their previous releases, acts perfectly as both a gateway album and an example of the possibilities of fusing modern ‘core’ music with more traditional and darker death metal. I think that this may be one of the reasons that this album is going to explode and I cannot contain my excitement to see what people think of it. Overall, this is a great album and is setting the bar high for 2017 releases to follow. Whether you’re a loyal Acranius fan or you’re just getting into slam, this album has something for you, don’t pass it up.

8/10

Go check out their single ‘Kingmaker’ and pre order the album:

Physical Copies/Bundle pre-orders here:  http://risingnemesisrecords.bigcartel.com/store

Digital pre-orders available here: https://risingnemesisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/reign-of-terror

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/Acranius/

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