Russian metal act Stalwart have been around for a long time, but their latest effort Manifest of Refusal is admittedly my first acquaintance with the band. And, talk about good first impressions! This is a really good and solid metal album.
Stylistically, Stalwart offer a modern type of death thrash with an, if not progressive, then at least experimental approach. In a sense, aspects of the album are decidedly more in death metal territory than thrash metal territory, as several songs feature ferocious blastbeats (just check some of the passages in 'The Karma Circle', 'Downgrade Evolution', 'Last Dawn of the Era', and 'Manifest of Refusal'), and the vocal style is pretty much consists of growls and death-grunts throughout the entire album. The thrash metal aspect of the album is not, unlike so much other death thrash which really seems primarily inspired by Slayer, from traditional old school thrash metal but rather from the more modern style of thrash, and it seems that particularly Meshuggah and Gojira serve as main source of inspiration. Consequently, the listener is treated to groovy riff upon groovy riff, interchanged with the above mentioned grinding blastbeat passages. And everything is delivered with Fear Factory-like precision.
Spicing things up, the band make use of keyboards which adds an interesting texture and dimension to the music. As with Nocturnus, the keyboards add a sort of spacey feel to the album, but they suit right into the overall sound, and also provide a more melodic feel, as heard in the melodic bridge of 'Downgrade Evolution'. Most of the composition on the album are quite dynamic, featuring several shifts, not just in tempo and time, but also in mood and intensity.
Fans of Meshuggah and Gojira and similar groove heavy acts should find Stalwart's Manifest of Refusal and interesting listen, and the album is recommended to anyone who likes their metal groovy, precise and spacey with just a very vague hint of djent.
1. The Karma Circle
2. Downgrade Evolution
3. Rise of the Ninth Wave
4. Last Dawn of the Era
6. Idol of the Time
7. It's Just My Choice
8. Manifest of Refusal
9. Renaissance Through Devastation