SOULLESS / PANDEMIC GENOCIDE / ARMINIUS - In Shadows of the Damned We Reign (OLD TEMPLE - CD 2006)
I almost forgot that I own a copy of this split CD, so when I found it in my mess, I decided to play it. And now I will also write couple of words about it, as all bands are very little known and it’s always cool to introduce new bands to people… and more so, I think this is really cool release. It was unleashed in 2005 through Old Temple Records, in 1000 copies supposedly (but I’ve read somewhere that nearly half of that quantity got damaged). All copies are hand numbered anyway and I have a copy number 86. Next important aspect is the unusual form of the release, as this CD comes in foldout cardboard sleeve, with three small booklets, each for every band that participate on this split. Cool and unusual idea, I must say! Finally I guess I need to mention what bands are featured here: two of them are Polish: Soulless (also known as Soulless Profanation), Pandemic Genocide and one is Dutch and is called Arminius. And yeah, I definitely like it…
…except one band. I don’t like Arminius at all. And to be honest, I would rather see another Polish band here, instead of so total mediocre or low quality Dutch band. They do not fit here and I just don’t understand the reason for them being here. Anyway, here Arminius feature the debut demo “Storms Below” plus an additional intro. And as mentioned, I don’t like it. It’s just poor quality death metal, with no “powerful factor”, with flat sound, awful vocalist (seriously awful), uninteresting riffs and arrangements and… well, everything about Arminius is bad or mediocre, I think. They’re more than uninteresting. It’s one of those bands, which you hear and want to forget quickly, as it’s a simple fuckin waste of time. And definitely they’re not even half as good as the two Polish bands here! So, this one band I easily skip, luckily they’re coming last on the CD, so it’s rather easy.
Soulless (Profanation) is surely the best, on the other hand. I remember them very well, as I was in touch with Daro (guitar / vocals) in the early 00’s, he sent me some demos of his band… I only don’t know if Soulless split up or was just putted on ice for some years, as Daro moved to Thailand, where he formed his second band, a killer Sturmgewehr666, which is a real destructive piece of death metal. But damn, Sturmgewehr666 is also silent for many years, so I don’t know what’s up with Daro nowadays. Anyway, here Soulless presents their best material, “Peri Psyches” demo, originally released in 2004. Hmm, I wonder how many times was this demo actually released? If I remember, I think it came out as a separate CDR first and then it appeared on at least 3 (!!) different splits: one was with Kamaloka, another with Exsecrator and then finally this one, with Pandemic Genocide and Arminius (here it comes without Deicide cover). Oh, it was also featured on “Sentenced to Desert of Fire” compilation. Damn! How many times you can release one demo haha?! But if it’s because it’s just damn good material and you want to spread it as much as you can, then I can understand it (especially as some of these releases had small limitations). Musically Soulless performed some seriously killer, brutal and sick death metal, with quite original touch. It all begins with truly furious “Desecration is Now”, which is a killer song, if you ask me, so damn fast and brutal that it blows everything off. There’re some parts, which can remind you Vader, Morbid Angel or Immolation, but damn, what a nasty stuff it is! It’s short, but effective. “Ornate God” is next and it’s more complex, the riffs are quite complicated and not so easy to memorize, not to mention that this song has some slower parts that sound unlike to the majority of your death metal, with some sick leads, surely inspired by Trey Azagthoth. Yeah, definitely Soulless liked to experiment a little. And that’s especially hearable in the slowest and most “difficult” to listen to song titled “Peri Psyches”. Yeah, weird atmosphere, aggressive riffs with a long guitar lead make this song not so easy to listen to. It’s technical, also intense, but just different. And good, definitely! But you just must listen to it carefully, to figure out what sort of death metal is this band offering.
Finally the last band, which is Pandemic Genocide. They perform straight forward, aggressive death metal, with many fast tempos and generally with such old school feeling, which I like a lot. You can hear some influence from the Polish scene (and the likes of Betrayer or Vader), but also the American death metal surely must have been an inspiration. What I like is how aggressive, but also atmospheric this music is. Damn, Pandemic Genocide was not afraid to use some keyboards here and there, which increased the heaviness and dark feeling of some parts. Awesome. The first song “Unleash the Beast” is definitely the best, as it’s fast and harsh, but I also need to mention such “Abyss of Blasphemy”. It’s very nice stuff. Maybe nothing utterly brilliant and groundbreaking, but surely a solid old styled death metal. I like it. By the way, all songs were previously released as “Abyss of Blasphemy” demo in 2003.
Standout tracks: “Desecration is Now”, “Ornate God”, “Unleash the Beast”
Final rate: Soulless (75) / Pandemic Genocide (70) / Arminius (35) = 65