Swedish death metal supergroup Firespawn, formed in 2014 under the moniker of Fireborn and took the step to brand themselves as something with greater demonic connotations within a year.
Combining the talents of vocalist Lars Goran Petrov (Entombed A.D.), guitarists Victor Brandt (also Entombed A.D., but on bass), and Fredrik Folkare (Unleashed), bassist Alex ‘Impaler’ Friberg (Necrophobic), and drummer Matte Modin (Defleshed) their third album release Abominate holds a few surprises. Impaler has stated:
“Heavy metal is more prevalent on Abominate than any previous album of ours. That’s on purpose. I don’t think you can hear it that well on Shadow Realms. That album is pretty much death metal all the way through. It’s a little more obvious on Reprobate though. But on Abominate, especially in Fredrik’s solos, there’s a lot of heavy metal. Obviously, mixing death metal with heavy metal has been done before, but there aren’t many bands that do it well. It’s something fresh, I think. We’re trying to not be a typical death metal band. We’re challenging ourselves. That it happens to be death metal with a lot of heavy metal influences is really who we are as musicians and fans. Abominate feels real.”
While Shadow Realms (2015) was written solely by Brandt and The Reprobate, (2017) features one track by Folkare (Damnatio ad Bestias) Abominate sees the whole band involved and contributing to the songwriting process and it has shifted the focus somewhat from death in all its glory melodically (the guitarwork in particular) but fear not, the lyrics are not about girls and fast cars. Rather it is about the horrors of the world and its treatment of humanity, philosophical and observational and it’s heavy.
Opening atmospherically, we audibly observe a jeering crowd, footsteps and then heavy breathing. Then comes the inevitable drop of a trapdoor and creak of rope. This is The Gallows End and it is intense. Somehow it is possible for Petrov’s vocals to become more aggressive, in fact he literally gets medieval on your ass!
Destroying all in its path, Death And Damnation with its sinister riffs commences with a doomier death feel and spectacular thrashier elements and ferocious drumming. The title track, Abominate does not disappoint with a sludgy groove and off kilter riffs.
Heathen Blood in its unreserved and unapologetic style decimates in its ferocity. The dual guitarwork is sublime and the track both engaging and catchy, leaving the listener crying for more.
Lead single The Great One encompasses darkness, morbidity and power with an intense and enthralling beast of a track. Gentle, melancholic and yet no less disconcerting, Cold Void grants a little respite with a brief, acoustic and melodic interlude. The Hunter continues in a similar theme, but with considerable added heaviness! Dare I suggest it is more traditionally ‘heavy metal’ but without slipping into parody. Intense and primal. The Hunter is a killer. Blast beats, syncopation and a staggeringly deep groove dominates the intensity of Godlessness. It’s irresistible, there may even be cowbell! It is spectacular! Blind Kingdom hints towards NWOBHM but is far, far beefier and quite obviously the deep growls of Petrov are quite unlike anything from such an era (other than perhaps a Venom track played at the wrong speed! (Too slow on a record player, it can be a hazard!)
The Undertaker is bone crushingly apocalyptic in both tone and temperament! Black Wings Of The Apokalypse closes with a fresh and fast take of a genre that can be a little stale, it gallops masterfully the guitar solo is simply wonderful. Intense, but grin-worthy. Abominate is impressive, I personally thoroughly approve of Firespawn’s minor fluctuation in trajectory. Treat yourself, have a listen!
This is old school death metal feels, shaken up with more vintage elements with a sprinkling of modern production that makes me want to windmill not rip out my hair. This could easily be a contender for the best death metal offering of the year.
Abominate can be ordered here now
- The Gallows End
- Death And Damnation
- Heathen Blood
- The Great One
- Cold Void
- The Hunter
- Blind Kingdom
- The Undertaker
- Black Wings Of The Apokalypse
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