From the ashes of Bolt Thrower and Benediction, phoenix-like, Memoriam arose in 2016.
The Hellfire Demos were first to appear followed by the debut album For The Fallen (2017) , which was marked by grief and with a heavy and bleak tone. The Silent Vigil (2018) displayed a far more aggressive aspect which has continued into Requiem For Mankind. Bleak, aggressive but with a sense of jubilation, the perseverance of confidence in the band gives rise to a superb album by front man Karl Willetts (Bolt Thrower), bassist Frank Healy (Benediction), guitarist Scott Fairfax (Benediction) and drummer Andrew Whale (Bolt Thrower).
Masterfully produced by the exceptional Russ Russell at Parlour Studios (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir, Amorphis etc.) this truly showcases the band at its best. The songwriting is on top form as are the vocals of Willett, you may say the best since those Bolt Thrower days. But you should listen for yourself, make up your own mind, draw strength and your own conclusions from a Requiem For Mankind.
Shell Shock opens fairly gently as the scene is set, but continues with an intensity and rapid firing of riffs to unsettle and get the adrenaline pumping. Kicking off with the decimation of an army and closing with even greater horror, the track conveys the sheer abhorrence of war in under 6 mins with crushingly atmospheric and dark breakdowns. Inner tranquillity, you will never find.The band has stated
“Shell shock ” is the first track we recorded for the “Requiem For Mankind” album. It is a bit of a Death Metal headbanger of a track! Subject wise it deals with the effects of being on the frontline amongst all the noise and chaos of a horrific war situation from an individual standpoint, and also that the soldier does not die from an enemy bullet!
Sound wise it needed to sound a bit epic, we think we have achieved this on ‘Shellshock’ and have used this as the blueprint sound throughout the album.”
You can blow your mind with the lyric video here
Undefeated continues the intensity with hugging groove and a punky intensity to grip and pulverise your attention. Anthemic, heavy but with euphoric touches ‚Still forging on, through advancing years. The past now gone, Yet the memory remains‘. Which could easily be an analogy for a band with such heritage which is going to draw comment and comparison regardless of the quality of the new material.
“Undefeated – this track is a fist pumping anthem. It is a statement of strength and empowerment. We all go through life and experience hardship and pain, but it is how you come through it that counts. It’s a song that reflects how we feel about what we have achieved in our lives…I think that is something that everyone can relate to. The lyrics are about being true to yourself and through adversity retaining integrity and staying strong. Remaining undefeated.” – Karl Willetts
Never The Victim is an atmospherically rewarding, oppressive yet upbeat bombast of striking musicianship and intense vocals. With the strong message to be true to yourself and to survive through adversity, this is powerful stuff indeed.
With regards to Austerity Kills, I am unsure as to whether the distressing lyrics of the track itself or the oppressive delivery is more unsettling. No punches are spared in the decimation of the current system of ‘care’ forced upon the general public by our Big Brother government. Harking back to a certain album cover, I am reminded of a quote – “He who keeps silent consents“.
Imposed to cure recession
Affecting those most poor
Society’s most vulnerable
Cannot take much more…
A shameful crisis of morality
As millions live and die in poverty
Is this the 21st century?
There has to be a better way
In The Midst Of Desolation is a more ‘traditional’ style death metal track, Wilett growls and howls over a slightly slower tempo, but without any loss of momentum as led by the incredible rhythm section of Healy and Whale.
The melancholic riffs that spur on Refuse To Be Led draws attention to the deception and contempt forced upon the ‘common folk’. The increased sense of isolation and anger that is arising amongst the people as the corruption spreads. Remain defiant, refuse to be led. Open your eyes..
The Veteran with its heavy, somnambulistic groove depicts another modern tragedy soaked in blood. It is a dark battle.
The title track Requiem For Mankind with its blistering riffs and syncopation claims tranquillity now is found. It seems turbulence is escaped only in death (delicious death metal, that is.)
Fixed Bayonets returns us to the destruction of the ground troops with a sense of rumbling, impending doom with the gasp-drawing rhythm of the bass. The album closes with Interment, which is gloriously apocalyptic, perhaps a requiem for the misguided valour of mankind. Reminding me of a disturbing cartoon that I obsessed over as a child ‘Peace On Earth.’
In all, this is an excellent album, thoroughly engaging and stimulating with an overwhelming sense of anger, railing against oppressive forces. But the message remains to push on, to rise above. Continue with the path you have chosen, but above all remain true to yourself.
We may be few, and our enemies many. Yet so long as there remains one of us still fighting, one who still rages in the name of justice and truth, then by the Allfather, the galaxy shall yet know hope.
Requiem For Mankind is available now and can be purchased here
- Shell Shock
- Never The Victim
- Austerity Kills
- In The Midst Of Desolation
- Refuse To Be Led
- The Veteran
- Requiem For Mankind
- Fixed Bayonets
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