Year of Desolation have put together a pretty melodic slab of brutal death metal on their new self-titled release for Prosthetic Records. Mixing the manic style of Strapping Young Lad with the melodic sensibilities of Arch Enemy and In Flames, Year of Desolation really works from beginning to end. Lead singer Chad Zimmerman has a very "Gothenburg" sound to his growling vocals, and twin guitar attack of John Hehman & Josh Kappel lay down plenty of crunchy riffage and harmony leads and fills. Considering that these guys hail from Indiana, they do a great job honing in on that Swedish sound.
The rhythm battery of drummer Matt Behner and bassist Mike Vandegriff work overtime on the killer piece "Erasing Your Existence", a song that sounds like a long lost In Flames or Dark Tranquility number from the mid-90's, complete with gorgeous harmony guitars and lethal melodic death metal growls. Gotta love the lurid lyrics to "Elitist Death Squad", which go like this; "You will learn to speak to me with respect or you'll be my slave, you can't spit lies and blasphemy, we'll fill your mouth with razor blades and glass...razor blades and broken glass." Not too subtle, but effective. Elsewhere, there's no shortage of technical death metal on tracks like "The Economy of Excess" and "Erasing Your Existence",with impressive guitar shredding and manic drum blasts. The band even dips a little into crunchy modern metalcore on "Forged In The Flames of Malcontent", as well as early 90's US death metal (Deicide anyone?) on the brutal "593". However, the pinnacle of this release might be the awesome "The Cleansing", complete with killer riffs, expressive growls, and intricate rhythms. Most importantly, it's all instantly memorable and highly melodic, yet still plenty brutal.
Pretty varied and impressive stuff overall that will certainly thrill fans of In Flames, Carcass, Arch Enemy, Dismember, Dark Tranquility, and Strapping Young Lad. Year of Desolation have managed to create the perfect balance of brutality and melody with this one, and there's no doubt that they have a bright future in the extreme metal world.
Not bad for five guys from Indiana...
1. Elitist Death Squad 3:30
2. Running The Gauntlet 3:26
3. Suffer Thy Nemesis 2:56
4. Erasing Your Existence 3:42
5. The Economy of Excess 3:50
6. Forged In The Flames of Malcontent 3:10
7. Gorge 3:01
8. 593 3:10
9. The Cleansing 3:54
10. Consume The Destroyer 3:30