Interment - Into the Crypts of Blasphemy
As I approached this release, in my mind there were two thoughts that could cleave a world. The first was that I really do want to re-live those days of glory during the time when the first Entombed, Dismember and Therion albums shaped the sounds of the cosmos. And the second was that a recombinant title like "Into the Crypts of Blasphemy" might render up unto us the same lukewarm drivel of retro-death that Entrails, Fatalist, Disma, and now Autopsy have been piling on our sad desolated corpses. This album will never be as thoroughly exempt from virtue as the Fatalist con-job or the complete weekender hipster project that is Entrails. However, even in its brightest hour, this has none of the grace that infests early Entombed. It is rote, without subtlety and thus missing the small insights into the world beyond that make death metal truly transcendent. It may be good but it's not good enough.
Acrostichon - Engraved in Black
Through the turbulent times of human struggle, people have been able to turn to music to unite them and express their fears, doubts, angers and hopes. Some music however expresses very little, because it is derivative of past music, and has nothing particular of its own to say. As a result you get a salad with bits from influences thrown in at random and while each song appears to be a song, no impression forms in the mind that this song has conveyed anything more than some riffs, vocals and drumbeats that sound a lot like others. This makes the song comforting but empty. Like its fellow influences Coroner and other early-1980s European speed metal bands, "Engraved in Black" is basically warmed over heavy metal with more emphasis on vocals and death metal style playing. However, these riff patterns were old in the days of NWOBHM. Like Coroner, these musicians are competent, but it's unclear if they express anything. In fact, most European death metal failed for this reason, until the Swedes saved everyone. It just has nothing to say. It may be good, but it doesn't matter; it expresses a brief glimpse of incoherence and nothing more.