With a one-and-done stint as vocalist for The Crown behind him, Jonas Stalhammar can now focus all his attention on endeavors closer to his Old School heart. Namely resurrected Swedeath legends God Macabre, and of course Bombs of Hades, his Death/Crust outlet since 2002. Although on album #3, that genre tag can be a bit misleading at times. Certainly not on opener “Fracture,” which is textbook D-beat-to-the bone Crust pudding, but you could almost Go-Go dance to “And Your Flesh Still Burns.” In fact, mental images of Austin Powers and his ’60s entourage flailing their arms downright prevent me from fully enjoying this track, not to mention keeping a straight face. In all fairness, the song isn’t really that goofy, and it isn’t Stalhammar’s fault that I’ve seen way too many stupid American comedies, but I much prefer the more straightfoward Crust assault of “Palace of Decay.” Meanwhile, “Omens” manages to invoke the spirit of mid-’80s Sodom, Slayer, and Onslaught with ease, and all in a ball-hair under two minutes. Unfortunately after this, Atomic Temples hits somewhat of a lull. Aside from a 40-second red-hot burst of Punkish intensity at the 3:32 mark, “Cadaverborn” is a bit of a bore. Then we have “Crawling Wind/The Tyrant Embryo,” which is four minutes of ambient noise with a baby crying, and then comes the title track… which is long. I mean looong. This song is so long, I was able to read Jon Konrath’s Surgical Steel review twice!! In truth, it’s not a bad song. Mid-paced Death and flashes of Speed Metal trade-off amidst a sea of solos until a gentle acoustic intermission provides a backdrop for introspection before the chaos resumes. I just don’t know if a 12-minute song on an irrefutably Punk/Death ‘n’ Roll-rooted album is ever the best idea. The quartet attempts to remedy the situation with a couple quick cuts to close the LP out. “Through the Pandemonium” is two minutes of speedy OSDM fury, while “The Last Gateway” is pure Motorhead worship. Then again, I suppose most Crust is.
In summary, this multi-headed dragon of an album is far more adventurous than 2012’s The Serpent’s Redemption, though not quite as consistent. At the end of the day, I’ve got a pretty fucking awesome 5-song/14-minute EPs worth of material to work with here, and all I’m really doing with my life is making mixtapes anyway.
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