DESOLATOR - Unearthly Monument (HELLTHRASHER - CD 2013)
There are / were quite few bands, which used the name Desolator (including a Polish one, which came back recently with the re-recording of their old songs from early 90’s), but this Desolator is Swedish. And I guess some of you may know them already from the split CD with Resurgency. I actually have missed this split CD, but for sure I wanna get it someday, as Resurgency is such an awesome band... Finally three years after the “Gravefeast” demo from 2010 and two years since the mentioned split release, Desolator comes back with their new release, which is “Unearthly Monument” album. It brings attention from the first look, with an awesome artwork by Bart Kruszyk; for sure it is one of his best works. It looks killer and fits the album title perfectly, depicting the unearthly, terrifying monument.
When I’ve checked the tracklist of “Unearthly Monument” it turned out that the album is more or less but a compilation of songs from Desolator’s both demos, with only a couple of new tracks. It doesn’t bother me though, as I haven’t had a chance to hear the band before, but it will be interesting to find out one day what the original versions of these songs were like. For the moment I am sure though that “Unearthly Monument” has much more powerful and thicker production comparing to the demos, so probably each of these songs just sound better here and is also better performed, maybe taking the band to a new level. So then… here we have death metal band and they’re from Sweden… Nowadays it is quite easy to think that they must be one of these new bands from the current wave of old school death metal, which would be taking influence from Entombed, Dismember, Autopsy, etc. Ha, such thinking doesn’t give a justice to “Unearthly Monument” and I think that even the label, when mentioned Grave, Entombed and Dismember in the advertisement, was wrong. In my opinion Desolator has very, very little in common with the classic Swedish death metal sound – and thus I laugh, when I read in reviews, when someone compares “Unearthly Monument” to “An Evil Shade of Grey” for instance, as they’re two completely different albums (to remind you - “An Evil Shade of Grey” is one of the most atmospheric, dark Swedish death metal LPs from the early 90’s)!!! Ha, fuck that… Some people probably think that it is just cool nowadays to mention such albums in reviews, even if they have nothing in common with the music from the album you review. But that just shows the competence and knowledge of some reviewers.
But if not Swedish death metal then how does Desolator sound like?
Well, there are few bands, which come to my mind while listening to “Unearthly Monument”. One, which is the most obvious for me is… Vader. Yeah, I think that Desolator has quite similar feeling and aggressiveness, definitely there are many moments and riffs, which strongly remind me Vader (even the guitar tone is similar; luckily the vocals are way different to Peter’s, so they make a difference)… Just listen to such particular opening riffs and whole fragments like those from such songs as “Desolated”, “Mass Human Pyre”, “Infernal Gathering”… What do you think? For sure it sounds alike, at least in my opinion. Together with Vader I would mention then some American death metal, from bands such as Monstrosity, even Malevolent Creation… And if there are any Swedish bands, which I could maybe compare “Unearthly Monument” to then they would be Vomitor and Seance (but only from their debut LP “Fornever Laid to Rest”!!!). Vomitory especially may have had some influence on Desolator and in few riffs and parts there’s quite strong resemblance. But forget about comparisons… I am sure that they’re unimportant, especially to the band… Everyone would rather want to know if the music is any good at all? Well, I think that it is… But when I listen to “Unearthly Monument” I find one problem – I just think that Desolator is not quite as good as the mentioned Vomitory; or any other band, which I mentioned in this review. Don’t get me wrong; I think that “Unearthly Monument” is a solid and decent effort, I quite like this album and I think it is worthy having in the collection, but at the same time there were many albums, which I listened to recently, which were just better. I feel like the whole album could have been slightly more powerful and aggressive. And more so, its biggest fault is I think the monotony of this music. To be honest, too many songs here sound just similar to the previous ones and the fact that the whole album is almost 50 minutes long doesn’t help. But I don’t know if it would help with anything, if the band decided to drop off two or three songs… Even if the material is fine and each song has something to offer, the whole is just not capable to really thrill me and cause the bloodshed. I miss some ferocity, something really effective… The way “Unearthly Monument” sounds is OK, but would I miss much if I’ve never heard this album? It just not a material for timeless classic, but only a decent death metal record, with some great riffs and some great moments, but also with some less exciting parts here and there… You can pick it up, if you’re a diehard death metal collector – then I am sure you’ll like this album, but if you’re more demanding then you may find this album as just boring. I am somewhere in between, torn between these two options… I don’t mind when “Unearthly Monument” is playing, but does it cut my throat and rip the guts out? No, I am afraid it doesn’t.
Standout tracks: “Mass Human Pyre”, “Antimortem Autopsy”
Final rate: 69/100