My first impression of 'Master Of Hate' by Desultor, the progressive death Metal duo from Stockholm, Sweden consisting of Ibrahim Stråhlman on drums and Markus Joha on guitars/vocals was that it was a musical contradiction, one which took me totally by surprise, as a hybrid of aggressive death and thrash Metal, married with a predominantly clean style of vocals. I did find the vocals took a bit of getting used to but they were not totally clean and where necessary, broken by snarls, screams and rasping vocals.
What totally blew me away was the intensity, aggression and excellent instrumentation on this album, which was pretty much full on end to end apart for the occasional progressive melodic segment here and there and a few short atmospheric instrumentals.
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'Master Of Hate' is the first full length from the band, together since 2007 and is an excellent debut album. There is the slight 'Stockholm' sound in the riffs at times, but mainly there is just a dense flood of intense sound, a combination of muscular brutality in the drumming complemented with the solid wall of sound that assaults your eardrums from the guitars, combined with the mostly clean style vocals which equates to a mind blowing contrast of musical extremes.
The instrumental intro 'Chapter 1: New Era' builds an almost space age atmosphere before opening into 'Black Monday', with excellent riffs and good vocal snarls. 'Another World' has a good groove running throughout and the guitars, a sinister edge to them. On 'Denied' I thought there were excellent riffs and angry segments to the vocals. My favourite track 'Division Insane' had the catchiest groove, excellent riffs, and excellent venomous wrath filled vocals.
'Chapter 2: The Phoenix', another instrumental, a momentary lull and the eye of the musical storm is followed by 'And So We Bleed', which opens with an impressively angry scream, good anger and rage in the vocals impressively excellent angry and emotional solo. 'The Luxury Of Pain' has a good groove throughout, a great solo, followed by an interesting Latin acoustic interlude before returning to the familiar wall of sound.
'Caged' has an excellent angry edge to the vocals taking away some of the cleanness and some exciting chugging riffs. A sinister opening and a good groove on 'Masters Of Hate', the penultimate track and the clean vocals are broken this time with angry screaming. Ending with another instrumental, 'The End', its space age atmospherics bringing an end to the album.
Despite the sheer force of the sound, consistent throughout, with the only let up in the instrumentals, a melodic feel was still maintained throughout. An excellent first album, mainly due, for me, to the excellent guitars and drums. None of the tracks were so long that they outstayed their welcome and I did enjoy the dirty side of the vocals: there is no denying Markus' excellent vocal range. The album also has a good clean production.
'Master Of Hate' is out now on Abyss records.