Come Forth Plague

Written by: AP on 06/01/2014 00:01:13

Early January is prime time for cleansing our clogged review backlogs, both of albums we would have liked to, but never found the time to check out, and of promos which perhaps did not awaken an immediate curiosity. It sounds a little rough to deprioritise releases in this way, but given the sheer amount of records sent to us on a weekly basis, it is inevitable that some of them should be gathering dust for most of the year. The first of such stowed away releases on my list is the third album by Crocell, entitled "Come Forth Plague", which was released at the beginning of June.

On their most recent effort "The Wretched Eidola", this Danish death metal crew began veering toward a sound typically associated with the Swedish metal mecca of Gothenburg, with melodies enjoying a promoted role in comparison to their Bloodbath inspired debut "The God We Drowned". But somewhat unexpectedly, Crocell now take a step back toward that extremity, in keeping with the current flourish of the death metal genre in Denmark. It's a decision that is bound to satisfy a large contingent of the band's existing fans, not to mention lure a host of new listeners, but on the other hand also one which, in my opinion, hinders the progress of this band. On the other hand, it is only appropriate that a band carrying the name of a Duke of Hell commanding legions of demons should be a tad vicious.

Mind you, "Come Forth Plague" is generally still a mellower affair than most of Crocell's contemporaries, and I dare even venture to suggest that the style they profess, at least within the borders of Denmark, is one they can profess in solitude. Songs like "The Dark I Will Inhale" and "Trembling Realms" are fond of the legacy of At the Gates, balancing with great finesse between rich melody and pitch black brutality. There are other influences at play, too: the thick groove of the standout "Teachings of Terror" initially pays homage to Six Feet Under, before the dark melodies of "Bloodred Hatred"-era Hatesphere wind into the mix through the solo and interlude; whilst "My Path of Heresy" and "Seven Thrones" unroll a slab of the very hip blackened stuff to magnificent results, vocalist Asbjørn Steffensen briefly abandoning his guttural style in favour of raspier, Norse vocals; and guitarists Ken Holst and Tommy Christensen letting loose a deluge of harmonised tremolo.

It's always refreshing to witness a Danish band deviating from the norm of brutal is better, and although such ventures are a bit of a premium on "Come Forth Plague" as well, Holst and Christensen's melodic work does produce a wonderful air of melancholy for the proceedings. But despite the fact that most of the material packed into the record is of a character that immediately displays solidity and quality, I am hard pressed to take much of it with me come the end; to remember moments of revelation from it. Domestically, Crocell's closest competition is without a doubt provided by Hatesphere - but in the international setting, music like theirs will be quick-fired into oblivion with little mercy. There isn't enough variety in Steffensen's growling, not enough personality in Holst and Christenen's axe work, nor enough ambition in the rhythmic foundation of Posselt and bassist Onkel Kusse (obviously a moniker); to survive the enormity of the death metal genre.

Download: Trembling Realms, Teachings of Terror, My Path of Heresy, Seven Thrones
For the fans of: At the Gates, Dismember, Hatesphere
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.06.2013
Ultimhate Records

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