Chaos prevails at the end of days.
Sometimes even the most straightforward of presentations can also come off as highly original, particularly if a certain level of stylistic ambiguity can be achieved within what is otherwise a standard formula. This has been the modus operandi of German death metal trio Deserted Fear since their 2007 inception and 2012 debut LP “My Empire,” walking a razor-thin line between the rustic sound of the early 90s and the subsequent melodic craze that swept Europe from the north. One would expect no less from a band that has toured with such noted old school icons as Morbid Angel and Obituary, while also being equally at home when sharing the stage with the likes of At The Gates and Insomnium. The road over the past 15 years has thus proven to be one of gradual refinement and controlled evolution, culminating in a sound that is unmistakably familiar for whom have followed the band since their early days but also notably larger and more lethal in its execution.
Ascribing the label of either straight up death metal or melodic death metal to their latest LP “Doomsday” only tells part of the story, though the latter label encompasses more of their sound than it did several albums back. The steady, mostly mid-paced battery of the rhythm section and the pummeling rhythm guitar work provides a colossal bottom end that recalls the militaristic largess of pre-2004 Amon Amarth, which when combined with the mainline Gothenburg-inspired melodic statements out of Fabian Hildebrandt’s lead guitar work presents a best of both worlds template. Even the mid-ranged roar of Manuel Glatter’s vocal work presents a balanced compromise between the death metal stylings of the early 90s and the latter part of the same decade, embodying elements of Karl Willetts, John Tardy and Tomas Lindberg, among others. But the songwriting that governs these various influences has a clear bent towards the highly catchy, hook-oriented niche of high period of European melodeath.
Though clearly hearkening back to a more conservative take on the sub-genre, Deserted Fear also show a clear bent towards the grandiose, quasi-symphonic trappings of the present. Kicking off this highly accessible studio entry is a blustering Hollywood-like orchestral prelude dubbed “Intro” (a recurring title for the short opening instrumentals that adorn all of their LPs), which builds from a somber Cello melody to a bombastic crescendo paralleling recent film score works out of Hans Zimmer. What follows can be best described as a correspondingly massive opening foray in “…Part Of The End”, delivering one low-end crushing riff after another with a humming set of droning lead lines closely in tow, culminating in a dark yet inviting banger to kick things off. Similarly heavy-ended and dense yet compact anthems such as the punchy “Idols Of Triumph” and the Gothenburg-infused melodic romp with a thrashing edge “Follow The Light That Blinds” follow the same scheme of symmetrical songwriting bolstered by a massive production while taking no prisoners in the aggression department.
Perhaps this album’s greatest ally is its sense of precision, as each song flows together seamlessly as if tied to the same continuous story-line, a soundtrack of a dying world so to speak. Some chapters naturally shine a bit brighter than others, with the specific cases of the driving fury of “Voices Of Fire” and the stoic brutality of the closer and title anthem “Doomsday” proving to be the most memorable from a musical standpoint. But the absolute coup de grace is the double feature of brief instrumental interlude “As Its End” and the streaming melodic flow of “Reborn Paradise”, reprising the buildup to an impressive explosion that was displayed with the first two tracks of the album and upping the ante in the memorable department. Topping off this impressive one-two punch is a highly expressive and auspiciously placed guitar solo out of Hildebrandt that adds an additional dimension of fatalistic beauty to what is essentially an ode to death and decay.
One might argue that Deserted Fear have been the right band at the right time for an audience that has been dissatisfied with the evolutionary path that much of the melodic death metal scene has taken since the mid-2000s, sticking closer to the style’s heavier roots in the 90s and often hearkening back further to what death metal was just before the Gothenburg sound took shape. Indeed, those who waited for over a decade to ultimately not get a follow up to Bolt Thrower’s 2005 last hurrah “Those Once Loyal” will find much of what they were longing for with this outfit and this particular album. It’s among the more impressive well-rounded offerings to come out of the style in the past few years, and a nice back to basics contrast to the more technically extravagant and dreamily atmospheric material coming out of Europe’s northern fringe. The bell of the world’s demise may well be tolling, but hopefully this won’t be the last chapter in this Teutonic machine’s anthology.
Released By: Century Media Records
Release Date: March 4th, 2022
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
1. Intro (01:22)
2. Part Of The End (05:46)
3. Idols Of Triumph (03:15)
4. Follow The Light That Blinds (03:45)
5. Fall From Grace (04:11)
6. At Its End (00:43)
7. Reborn Paradise (04:58)
8. The One Desire (04:27)
9. Call Of Emptiness (03:31)
10. Voices Of Fire (04:15)
11. Doomsday (05:09)
DESERTED FEAR are:
- Simon Mengs / Drums
- Fabian Hildebrandt / Guitar
- Manuel “Mahne” Glatter / Vocals/Guitar
Though relative newcomers to the death metal scene, German trio Deserted Fear stand as one of the more effective purveyors of the glory days of the European old school, recalling the primordial grit of Bolt Thrower and Unleashed, while also delving into the grandiose character of early Amon Amarth with some occasional symphonic flourishes on their latest studio venture