|Acephalix- Deathless Master|
Yeah, you can all see where this is going.
Deathless Master certainly delivers on all fronts, at least for those seeking only the most worship-y Entombed and Grave worship. Nothing is out of place, nothing is new or challenging and nothing will ever make you question Acephalix's loyalty to Sunlight Studios guitar sounds or true old-school credibility. Deathless Master has a singular purpose, and commits to it with plenty of verve and vigor. Everything is genre appropriate, from the album cover, song titles and lyrics to the song-writing, which effectively captures the essence of the heavily melodic, simplistic and musty Swedish Death Metal sound to total carbon-copy perfection. Acephalix perform each track masterfully, at the very least never sounding sloppy or overwhelmed, while vocalist Dan(that's it) is a capable growler in his own right, providing a solid low grunt which predictably accompanies each economical, effortless track. Truly, Deathless Master is a machine with plenty of hellish fuel to power it's journey into the crypts.
And FUCK is it boring.
And album like Deathless Master has becoming increasingly common in Death Metal: all soulless style, no substance. Acephalix steal their riffs from Left Hand Path with mechanical precision, and play them with a kind of blandness that can make one slip into a deep sleep at a moments notice. Fearfully constructed to appeal to the masses, Deathless Master is the kind of highly accessible dribble hidden under a reverb drenched production that is over-running Death Metal as we speak. There are quite literally only two moments, not songs but moments, where Deathless Master ever carries any weight or intensity: the opening riffs of "... On Wings" and "The Hunger" bring much needed evil to an album which for the most part is merely highly digestible junk food.
On it's surface, there is nothing inherently wrong with the concept of an accessible, for lack of a better phrase, "Pop" Death Metal album. And the Swedish Death Metal sound has always been the most accessible Death Metal sound, so there really should be no surprise that Deathless Master is a largely easy listen. It all comes down to personal taste really, and for this particular listener, Deathless Master is little more than lifeless static in a sea of soulless static peddlers; a piece of worship with no real faith backing it, other than faith in it's own popularity. Deathless Master was always going to be a success by virtue of what it is, regardless of the quality: it's Death Metal on Easy Mode.
Deathless Master is just one more example of a Death Metal scene which has become increasingly toxic to things like creativity and originality. Calls of "it wasn't broken, why fix it?" and "this is REAL Death Metal" fill the air, and power an album like Deathless Master to new heights, sure to be highly featured on many year end lists as one of the best albums of 2012: genetically engineered for hype and mass appeal. Which again, is not really a bad thing... unless it begins to overwhelm a genre's artistic credibility. With Death Metal becoming so hostile to artists who endeavor to be original and put serious work into their song-craft, an album like Deathless Master could very well be a death knell for the genre itself; one that is becoming increasingly self-contained and regressive.
Which puts pretty massive weight behind an album as slight and generally forgettable as Deathless Master doesn't it?