Anmeldt av Eddie Rattlehead
(MementoMori, 2020)

Karakter: 4.5/6

Valgrind_Condemnation.jpgIt's always exciting to hear a new band which turns out to have been as old as Morbid Angel's seminal "Covenant" album (1993). The association, too, is not a coincidence as the San Lazzaro di Savena (Bologna), Emilia-Romagna death metallers are heavily steeped in the "Altars Of Madness" through "Domination" stylings, if "Condemnation" is any indication, although they do have their own sound. Italy is no stranger to death metal, need we only mention Hideous Divinity or Sadist, and neither is this quartet presently consisting of Massimiliano Elia (guitars, keyboards), Daniele Lupidi (vocals, bass), Umberto Poncina (guitars) and Gianmarco "Jankill" Agosti, having had recorded one demo, "Through The Mists Of Vigrid" (1996) and 3 full lengths: "Morning Will Come No More" (2012), "Speech Of The Flame" (2016) and "Blackest Horizon" (2018) before "Condemnation", which both finds them in top form yet with plenty of room for improvement.

I can assure you that most of the songs do not fall below 4.5 grade to these ears, full of unexpected twists and turns, sparing neither aggression nor melody, although, admittedly, the former aspect more prevalent, and to this the title track is probably the best testimony, especially with its classic Death epic opening riff and Iron Maiden-ic melody, or the Revocation-ary and Asphyxian "Furies". The two halves of the disc being fairly even, the post-intro first track proper, "The Curse Of Pegasus Spawn" is an excellent start, combining Morbid Angel, Mastodon with some Cradle Of Filth-ian melody, but, too, consider the equal in excellence, the more "Formulas Fatal To The Flesh" Morbid Angel-ic "Storm Birds Descent" with better riffs and production than its influence, or the excellent, again Asphyx-Revocation-ary closer "Goddess Of The Salt Sea". But the hands down finest track is the progressive, heavily keyboarded and intro/outro infused "Divination - Marked by the Unknown" which strongly recalls Mithras or Monstrosity - I hope they will expand upon ideas therein on the future endeavors.

The album contains one significant flaw: the derivative nature of some of the riffs which get dangerously too close for comfort for My Dying Bride (Eater Of Hearts) and Morbid Angel (The Day). You may think I'm being unfair but when I hear these tracks and feel as though I am listening to "The Dreadful Hours" and "Where The Slime Live", respectively, I don't know what to think. Especially the former riff is so similar it FEELS like I'm listening to My Dying Bride instead of Valgrind. This would not be a big deal on the debut or the sophomore release but this is the 4th album, so no excuses.

"Condemnation" is a very good, fabulously, organically recorded and admirably performed disc full of imperfect yet enjoyable cuts. You can hear the guys are still developing, searching and experimenting and for this reason you should give at least "Divination - Marked by the Unknown" a listen to see where they go from there. On a final note, vocalist/bassist Daniele Lupidi is also a frontman for another notable Italian death metal band, Hateful, whose new album will be reviewed by me soon so stick around for my comparison of the two.


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