Bereaved – The Spirit Driven by Hate – 3.5/5
Not only is this a solid debut full-length album, ‘The Spirit Driven by Hate’ is one of the best death/thrash albums to be released from Japan. Despite the huge metal scene in Japan, few acts get any real exposure in the West. This is one of many albums that deserve our attention.
The album opens with the chilling intro ‘Apparition’, and then erupts into a thrilling onslaught of metal. Brutal from start to finish, 'The Spirit Driven by Hate' is also technically superb. The quintet from Tokyo has found a near perfect blend of death and thrash metal, full of well used blast beats. Bereaved plays its own take on extreme Teutonic-style thrash, with a modern twist. The fast, intense thrash riffing is layered with Gothenburg melodies and some impressive solos. Void of any repetitive, chugging songs (like Slayer surround their two or three good songs with on every album), most of the tracks are 5-6 minutes long, but never drag. Leo Wakiya displays solid, although for the most part unspectacular, death metal drumming with plenty of good fills to keep it interesting.
Japanese vocalists sometimes get a lot of criticism, because of the unusual accent when they sing in English. In the case of Bereaved, if you are only used to European/American death growls, Tetsu Haramura’s deep, rasping vocals may take a bit of getting used to. Although at times the vocals are reminiscent of metalcore, they really fit the music well and I found that they grew on me with every song. If you like death/thrash, you should get this album now!