I think even the most devoted fans of thrash would admit that it’s hard to stand out from the pack, especially in 2020, after so many decades have been filled with so many bands and albums, both great and not-so-great. It’s even harder when a band feels a strong bond to such icons of the genre as the early works of Metallica, Slayer, and Death, as well as the continuing influence of Kreator and Demolition Hammer.
And that’s what makes Deathstorm so well worth your time — they relish those influences, and their music is unpretentious and uninterested in trying to reinvent the wheel or reconfiguring it into some new mechanism of propulsion, yet these Austrian wolves still do stand out from the pack. How do they do it? The song we’re premiering today from their upcoming fourth album Dread Shall Reign (which will be released by Dying Victims Productions on July 31st) will show you how — in spades.
The root of the answer to that question lies, of course, in the riffs. All thrash bands must live or die by the riff, and these Austrian veterans are proven riff maestros. But the more fulsome answer is that Deathstorm pack their songs with A LOT of riffs, and a plenitude of tempo changes, and that they do this without sacrificing the cohesiveness of the songs or the fundamental savagery of their brand of death/thrash. They’re extremely good at kicking your pulse rate into high gear and putting an evil countenance on your face, but they’ll give your brain a centrifugal spin as well.
“Human Individual Metamorphosis” is a prime example of what we’re trying to say. It jumps from the gate in an electrifying race, all hammering drums and ripping thrash riffage. But then, just as the bestially vicious vocals come in, the pace slows and the music transforms into a reptilian melody with a decidedly sinister cast. And then the band stomp on the gas even harder, with the drums pounding at an even faster rate and the riff becoming a superheated swarming frenzy. And then, backed by a measured snare beat and double-bass rumbling, the guitars generate a freakish, insectile sensation.
And that’s all just in the first minute.
After that the band continue to switch tempos like a Formula One driver throwing the gear-shift with blazing speed and dexterity. The chords and notes blare in displays of menacing grandeur, ring like ghostly chimes, engage in frantic feeding frenzies, and dart about like demonic sprites — and the drumming and bass-work are equally diverse. Even the extended solo in the song begins as a slow, eerie, and forlorn lament but then spins up into a scintillating display of unhinged exuberance.
So yeah, that’s how you stand out, even when you’re still bent on honoring the old gods.
Dying Victims is giving Dread Shall Reign a suitably expansive release — on vinyl LP, Cd, and digital formats, all of which are available for pre-order now. Take advantage of Bandcamp Friday and get your order in today!
And along with today’s premiere, we’re also giving you a chance to check out the first two singles from the new album, “Funereal Depths” and “Sulphuric Scents“, both of which are also hellishly good.