Perhaps the single most important extreme metal genre, death metal has develops from being essentially a primitive and brutal version of thrash metal into covering a whole range of often technical and challenging (to the listener and the musicians) subgenres. There are of course a number of bands to stick to the original primitive style of death metal, some of whom are veterans, such as Obituary and Necrophagia, and some of whom are retro bands, such as Brutally Deceased and Mr. Death. While the retro bands are typically extremely good, they are rarely original.
But what would it sound like if a band adopted the old school death metal style and incorporated elements from other extreme metal genres into it, ultumately adding a twist of originality?
Well, the Danish death metal band Deus Otiosus' sophomore album Godless might provide an answer to that question. Drawing on death metal in its very earliest incarnation, the Danes incorporate several aggressive and razor sharp thrashy riffs into the style on this album, which results in death metal which is not only brutal in the way that only 90s death metal can be, but which is also aggressive like late 80s death-thrash. And, yes, if you are an old school extreme metal fan with heart palpitation and sweaty palms, your expectations will be more than fulfilled when you listen to this album. I addition to the old school death-thrash and death metal framework of this album (prevalent in, for instance, 'Snakes of the Low', 'In Harm's Way', 'Pest Grave' and 'Face the Enemy'), Deus Otiosus are not afraid to draw on non-death metal genres, and thus 'Snakes of the Low', 'Pest Grave' and 'Cast From Heaven' feature black metal elements (with the latter drawing more on melodic black metal), and 'Death Dance' being essentially a type of death metal waltz. Moreover, there are a couple of modern extreme metal elements to be heard on the album, such as some blastbeats every now and then.
Instead of opting for a lo-fi production, which is otherwise typical of a lot of present-day old school death metal band, Deus Otiosus have embraced a crisp and up-to-date production which allows the listener to hear every single move by the five experienced musicians, whose performance is both solid and organic. Not only are five Danes skilled musicians, they are also skilled songwriters, and there simply is no weak or sub par track on this album.
Godless is old school. It explores the very roots of death metal (and extreme metal in general), but at the same time Deus Otiosus add their own twist which results in death metal which is both old school and original. Recommended to any fan of early death metal and death-thrash aling the lines of Sepultura, Possessed, Obituary, Necrophagia and Autopsy.
1. Snakes of the Low
2. In Harm's Way
3. New Dawn
4. Pest Grave
5. Surrounded By The Dead
6. Cast From Heaven
7. Face The Enemy
8. Death Dance