SCENT OF DEATH - Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate (Pathologically Explicit Recordings - CD 2012)
It took me a while, before I finally started to put some words on the laptop, writing this review. Well, but that wasn’t due to my laziness – OK, maybe a little bit hehe – but mainly because I rather wanted to enjoy the music and listen to „Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate”, rather than bothering about writing some stupid reviews. You know, it is way better just to play the album fuckin loud and bang the skull, than doing some press. But OK, it’s about time to share some thoughts about „Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate”, as it is my obligation to the band, who actually bothered to send me a copy of their new CD. I guess you should guess by know that if I preferred to listen to the album and not doing anything else, then it must mean I like the music… Yes, I sincerely do. If it was shit, then I would just play it once or twice and quickly review it, to move to another album and quickly forget about this one. But that is not the case with Scent of Death’s newest effort. It actually may be a surprise to some of you that I like this music so much, as usually such technical, brutal death metal is not really my cup of piss. It’s true, but there are always some exceptions, otherwise life would be too simple! In case of modern, tech death metal I can consider myself as a fan of bands like Suffocation, Nile, Behemoth, Hour of Penance, and from some more underground stuff I definitely consider bands like Chaos Inception and Beyond Mortal Dreams as a pure fuckin masterpieces. Sure, most of those technical, modern death metal bands is boring for me, mainly because their music is nothing more but a triumph of form over content – read: they offer millions of sounds and riffs, but nothing beyond that, as after listening to such album usually nothing stays in my mind, everything dies in the maelstrom of riffs and fast drumming. That is not the case with Scent of Death and their „Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate”!
Sure, Scent of Death’s music can be described as technical and modern, as well as damn fast and brutal, but it also has the essence of death metal and the main influences, which I can point out here would definitely be with bands like Suffocation, Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Behemoth, Severe Torture, Trauma… So, everything what I like most in this sort of music! And Scent of Death’s album is fuckin intense from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean that once they start to shred with fast drumming and complex, mutilating riff, they do the same through the whole album! No way would it be interesting and impress me, if it was like that. Those Spaniards were smart enough to diversify their music and managed to find a key to make it technical, but also memorable and included a lot of… hmm, how should I describe it… hmm, maybe space, I mean their arrangements are not over the edge of being listenable stuff, but they also include a lot of effective and memorable stuff, which is great. So yeah, the fast stuff may be dominant on the album, but at the same time there are such killer songs as “Ego Te Provoco” – which are way slower, with many fantastic, heavy riffs and absolutely awesome guitar solos, which would probably make Azaghoth or Rutan green in jealousy.
But yeah, I definitely like the fact that „Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate” is something more than just a guitar masturbation and octopus drumming, as such things usually bring a lot of satisfaction to the musicians, but not necessarily to the listeners, especially in such musical style as death metal, where I always considered the dark and deathly atmosphere as something most important, even more than the pure brutality. I think that „Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate” has captured a certain balance between all the aspects of death metal and that’s great. It is enough for me to really enjoy this music and I can even say that I don’t really see many – if any – failures on this album. Hmm, maybe there’s one, which is not even that serious, but which I can mention and that is the song “The Sleeper Must Awake”, which is an instrumental track. There’s nothing really wrong with it, except the fact that the opening theme of it is just clearly taken off the Behemoth’s monumental “Lucyfer” hehe! Other than that, I can just compliment the band – for the technique (all instrumentalists plus good performance of the vocalist Sergio M. Afonzo), great songwriting, very good – clean, aggressive and powerful – production… Yeah, I really like this album.
Here I must add that it is not my first contact with Scent of Death’s music. I actually have got to know them already back in 2002 (or 2003), when I got their demo “Entangled in Hate” (I rated it then 7/10 for the www.nbc.art.pl webzine, not bad!). Later on the band also send me their first album, 2005’s “Woven in the Book of Hate” which I reviewed for my Panzerfaust zine #5 and rated it 80/100. But to be honest, ever since I listened and reviewed both recordings I haven’t listened to them anymore. You know, I’m one of those people, who buy a lot of new / or old / stuff, sometimes few titles per week, plus I also sometimes get some stuff for review… and it’s been like that for many years now, so sometimes it is just difficult to find time to listen to something what for instance I got for review 10 years ago. Ha, I bet there are also some CDs or LPs, which I purchased years ago and probably have never listened to them (yet!) hehe! But these two Scent of Death old releases are still in my collection and now, when I listened to „Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate” I really feel like it’s about time to remind myself what were they like and give them another spin, also to see how the music of Scent of Death has evolved through all those years. At the same time I hope that „Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate” won’t be entombed in my closet for 10 years, waiting to be exhumed one day. This album is way too good to have a future like this.
Oh, and just to finish – have they ever noticed a bad gramma in the title of their album???
Standout tracks: “Ego Te Provoco”, “A Simple Twist of Fate”, “Man Kills, God Too…”
Final rate: 85/100