Alexander “Meatgrinder” Andreev has been leading the Russian quartet for some two decades now and shows no sign whatsoever of slowing down just yet. Although they are a death metal act, who have obviously been influenced by the likes of Bolt Thrower, they are far more melodic and commercial than acts such as Cannibal Corpse, with whom they are often compared. If the vocal style was different, then songs such as “Earth’s Bloody Punishment” would probably be viewed as power metal with death metal tendencies, as it is just not as raw and frenetic as one might expect from the name of the band. Sure there are times when they pile it on, but even then it is quite reserved and not in the same area as bands such as Deicide and the like while being a long way from the technical bands such as Nile.
It is a very long album, coming in at 88 minutes with 15 tracks, but some of them are acoustic fillers which are supposed to add contrast and dynamics but end up just feeling quite out of place among the album as a whole. There are also a few moments where they fade as opposed to finish properly, something which to me is unforgivable in just about any genre, but definitely within this form of music. Overall, the album is incredibly polished, probably too much, and there are too many times when the band are repeating riffs while they are waiting for the next idea to strike them, with time signature changes which just do not really make sense. The result is an album which is interesting and enjoyable, but never pushing the limits which one expects from this style of music, which means it something that is somewhat underwhelming as opposed being definitive. Mind you, I have seen a 10/10 rating for this on a major metal site, so maybe it is just me.
6/10 Kev Rowland