The last we heard from San Diego's death metal horde Condemned was back in 2011 with their release Realms of the Ungodly, and since then they've had a complete line-up overhaul, with only guitarist Steve Crow remaining from that configuration. His Divine Shadow is their new album for Unique Leader, and sees Crow joined by vocalist Sam Townsley, drummer Tyson Jupin, and bassist Ryan Reidy. Make no mistake, Condemned are as lethal as ever, and ready to jump right back into the death metal scene with a vengeance.
Let me just say, this album is heavy as fuck...the songs are short and to the point, Condemned piling on a ton of massive riffs, technical passages, blast beats, and otherworldly crushing breakdowns. Townsley's deep growls and bellows fit the band perfectly, his raging howl sifting through a haze of pulverizing riffs & blasts on the menacing "Legion" as well as the chaotic "Omniscient Perturbations". With a cool sci-fi lyrical story in place, the band have also done a great job to give some of the songs a futuristic feel as well, especially the pummeling "Ascending The Spectral Thro" and the relentless "Nefarious Sanguine Decree ". For his part, Crow is a death metal powerhouse, a guitarist with a huge arsenal of tricks up his sleeve, his riffs enormous, and all the little fills, solos, and pinch harmonics that he throws in just add all the right elements to these monstrous songs. New drummer Jupin also impresses at every level, his technical, acrobatic style working overtime underneath the relentless riffing on insane, technical pieces like "The Hive Ablaze" and the punishing crusher "World-Reaving Terror".
As if the music wasn't reward enough, His Divine Shadow features cover art courtesy of Swedish artist Par Olofsson (Deeds Of Flesh, Cult Of Luna, Immortal, Immolation), with album logo art by none other than Christophe Szpajdel (Emperor, Moonspell, Old Man's Child). It's an overall excellent death metal release from the always dependable folks over at Unique Leader.
1. Penumbrę 01:14
2. Dawn 03:48
3. Omniscient Perturbations 03:08
4. Legion 03:42
5. Ascending The Spectral Thro 03:34
6. Nefarious Sanguine Decree 04:32
7. His Divine Shadow 04:02
8. Pestilential Reign 02:49
9. The Hive Ablaze 03:44
10. World-Reaving Terror 04:05