Plenty of comparisons can be drawn to fellow Canadians Into Eternity, Divinity, Beneath the Massacre, and Strapping Young Lad on this debut from Senate, titled The Great Northern Scenekill. Combining elements of thrash, technical death metal, progressive metal, and even some black metal, The Great Northern Scenekill is plenty brutal enough yet highly melodic. Each member of this band is extremely talented, but it seems to be the dynamic and acrobatic drum work of Patrice Hamelin who really seems to drive things here. Check out his impressive stick work on tracks like "A War Without End", or the blast beat mania of "Crucifixer" for proof of his power behind the kit. Equally impressive is lead singer Matt Difranco, who has a varied arsenal at his disposal, from high pitched shrieks, to unearthly growls, to more black metal type screeches. Of course, the guitar work is key to any metal album, and the duo of Jay Siebert & Hudson really make things happen here with plenty of crushing riffs and sizzling leads. As impressive as their axe work is on the manic tunes here, it's the slower pace of "Whispers" that sees the two drop in plenty of pulverizing power chords and textured harmony lines that adds a little variety to the back end of the album. At near 7-minutes, it's also the CD's longest track and contains plenty of prog-metal styled passages. Speaking of prog-metal, if you are into all-out technicality, check out the complex mind-blower "Draconis", easily one of the strongest and most demanding pieces on the album. Some ethereal keyboards are dropped in on this one for a great extra added effect.
Despite all the ferocity, things remain highly melodic throughout, and with the mastering done by Tue Madsen, The Great Northern Scenekill is just a great sounding debut that signals great things are in store for this fine young extreme metal band.
2 Victorious Hatred
3 Queen Of Sorrow
4 A War Without End, Amen...
7 Recommit Rising