Desultor – Masters of Hate – 3.5/5
If anyone can still recall the last time someone tried to incorporate Power Metal elements with an extreme genre of metal music, namely Demoniac, you'd probably understand my worry about how awful the combination can become, and whilst these guys take an altogether different approach to the combination, utilising an old school Swedish death metal tone and coupling it with power metal vocals, that worry was nonetheless prominent in the back of my mind. The conception remarkably different, it is only upon listening to what I had little hope for that I realised the two genres may have more in common than I first considered. Double drum kicks are almost as common in Power Metal now as in more extreme genres, the riffs are often different more in tone than in the technical details, and certainly both genres lend themselves well to “Epic” and “Progressive” monikers.
It never comes across as a case of a band unable to decide what genre they wanted to play so haphazardly mixed elements of two, they've focussed on what commonality is shared between the two styles and through this odd blend a coherent sound emerges. The vocals carry a sense of power but lend an ethereal, almost doom-like darkness to the proceedings, and whilst he comes short of delivering on a mind blowing performance he lends a welcome variety to his range, and it is the atmosphere he conveys that carry many of the tracks forward. It's so pivotal in fact, that almost five full minutes of this thirty minute release are spent on ambient work, reminding and reinforcing the tone that, arguably, should be present within each of the songs themselves.
The major issue presented here is in trying to find a match of the two styles that works, they've left themselves with too little wiggle room for creativity. It sounds almost odd to think that such a blend could end up being boring but ultimately that is the crux of the problem; solo's emerge all too infrequently enough to maintain the interest and the riffs are repeated for far too long and feel uninspired, the same style of 'Gothenburg' riffs and excessive use of quick pull off's between chords lending the only recycled variety to the melodies. The vocals are present but feel purposeless and unemotional, the drums mechanical and lifeless. There's a sense of catchiness to some of the lines but they all become forgettable in the end. Desultor have spent so much effort in trying to find a sound that works that they've forgotten to write interesting compositions, and that's a shame as you would think they'd have already done the hardest part.
Highlights: Division Insane, The Luxury of Pain, Master of Hate