Memoriam originate from Birmingham and, despite having been only in existence since 2016 with two full-length albums under their belts, it seems a little bit odd that they would describe themselves as “old school death metal”.
Well, that is until you dig a little deeper to find that vocalist Karl Willets was part of UK legends Bolt Thrower, and that the band was formed following the tragic death of their drummer Martin “Kiddie” Kearns in 2015. Now onto their third release, ‘Requiem For Mankind’, we see if they can showcase their extensive experience.
Dredging the deeps, opener ‘Shell Shock’ is a classic straight up death metal track with the constant click of the kick pedal that is synchronised with the twisting of steel from the guitar riffs to stamp the band’s brand right into the skin of its vicitims. Focusing on intelligibility and clarity rather than visceral aggression, it has the right amount of speed and distortion to stay naturally heavy and dark.
Seeking revenge, ‘Never The Victim’ pounds the streets with open guitars and intertwining solos from Scott Fairfax that add breathing space before spiraling down into a Gatling gun of dissonant riffs that verge on the edge of black metal demon-ism. The guttural roars of Karl Willets echo the same sentiments as they are delivered in short blasts of three to five words at a time, ensuring every message is clearly heard and understood.
Loosening the handcuffs of precision, ‘In The Midst Of Desolation’ opens out to let the distortion roar and the rhythm to solemnly drudge towards death’s door. Despite the slower pace, it still retains the deathly impact of its predecessors in a progressive build-up of riffs that have interesting extra strikes in places to keeps things unpredictable.
Diving into the trenches, ‘Fixed Bayonets’ tells the story of the fight across no mans land to subjugate the enemy through hand-to-hand combat. This is aptly delivered in the roaring bellows of Willets‘ utterances describing the torment of conflict that is backed by Andy Wales‘ flaying cymbal strikes and grinding kick pedals.
‘Requiem For Mankind’ is a solid classic album with enough interesting twists and changes to keep the entertainment value up, and definitely showcases Memoriam‘s wealth of experience in an excellently executed manner.