EMPIRE OF DISEASE – Shadows In The Abyss

EMPIRE OF DISEASE – Shadows In The Abyss


BAND URL: https://empireofdisease.bandcamp.com/

I admit that it’s been a while since I reviewed an Xtreem Music release so I’m starting the righting of the Universe’s balance with the 2nd album from the Spanish melodic groove death metallers Empire Of The Disease, Shadows In The Abyss²⁰²³, released on November 7th two years after the debut With All My Hate²⁰²¹ via Worm Hole Death.

Empire Of Disease may be relatively new, with its 2018 inception, but their roots go back to 2015 (as Nightmare Within) before the name change so two things we can confidently assert about Pintxo Wayewta Cabrera (vocals), Gorka Díez (guitars), Ander Baz Pérez (bass), Iban (drums) and Robert PM (2021-guitars) pretty much upon the first exposure is that they definitely know their way around their respective instruments and that they know how to write very good, heavy but catchy songs where they seem to meld melodic death and groove metal with the best of metalcore in one cauldron. Whether we consider the opening salvo “The Valley” with its wink or nod to both Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes¹⁹⁹⁴ and Fear Factory’s Demanufacture¹⁹⁹⁵ (the two bands I always thought sounded initially very similar) within the first minute of the record, the thrashy Darkest Hourly “Time For A New Era”, At The Gates-y “Digging Our Graves” (about the frightening development of Artificial Intelligence which is slowly taking over the human world and making mankind obsolete everywhere we work and create) the neoclassical Most Principium Est stylings of “Scum”, the closing title track refreshingly evocative of Erase¹⁹⁹⁴ Gorefest or the favorite “Dark Side Of The Soul” with its “Now I Lay Thee Down” Machine Head-y syncopation, you’re going to enjoy this album if you were alive and not just breathing in the years 2004-2006 and have intimate familiarity with the likes of Trivium, Lamb Of God, Byzantine, Killswitch Engage or the aforementioned Darkest Hour and God Forbid, on one hand, and the groove metal’s Pantera, Sepultura, Pissing Razors or Machine Head around the end of the 20th and the first decade of the 21st Century, on the other.

Most tracks are very good (with “Dark Side Of The Soul” excellent) but there is a single exception, the deathcorish “The Game” (which technically rhythmically recalls Death Machine), not a bad track but it could have used a bit more variation. There is a sense as if we’ve heard it all before but it’s served in a fairly fresh bowl, so that, plus the quality of songwriting and production as well as very good replayability factor all renders the score you see above.

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