Forming in 2021 initially to pass the seemingly unending Covid times while waiting for the return of normality, British/Irish Death Metal group DeathCollector are set to unleash their debut studio full-length Death’s Toll. This is a follow-up to their self-released debut EP from 2022, Time’s Up, which brought them to the attention of the Metal Underground scene and their current label, Prosthetic Records.
DeathCollector – Death’s Toll (Prosthetic Records)
Release Date: 23 June 2023
Words: Jools Green
DeathCollector features former member of Bolt Thrower and Memoriam Andrew Whale on drums, along with Kieran Scott from Ashen Crown on vocals, Zealot Cult’s Mick Carrey on lead/rhythm guitar and Lee Cummings from Severe Lacerations on bass.
The nine-track, thirty-eight-minute Death’s Toll features versions of the three tracks featured on the Time’s Up EP; DeathCollector, Internal Expansion and Terrorizer, so if the positive whispers about that EP reached your ears, but you didn’t manage to secure a copy then here’s a second chance for you.
Sound-wise, Death’s Toll is old-school Death Metal at the core with a forward-thinking approach. It makes a passing nod, unsurprisingly, at the likes of Memoriam and Bolt Thrower, just enough to meet the genre remit but avoids being one of those sound-alike clones that seem to litter the scene, thankfully, and there’s enough raw brutality to keep the most demanding of Death Metal fans happy.
Lyrically the album focuses on the darkest contemplations on mortality, wilful self-destruction, addiction, and the mental and physical toll that life takes on us until death.
The opening and title track, Death’s Toll, is a punchy number, superbly phrased at the midpoint, making way for a brief groovy repeat and burst of leadwork before resuming the unrelenting charge of the first half.
On Mental Hedonist, a wall of riffs and drum battery develops into a hypnotic repeat, alongside snarling, slightly cavernous vocals and insane second-half leadwork. A track packed with brutal excitement.
Next DeathCollector, with its superbly sinister intro, is an altogether darker, slower track for the first half that accommodates a wonderfully dark protraction coming from the vocals, then a mid-point thrashy, squealy ramp up to the pace into a galloping death assault, repeating that slower element and protracted vocals once more towards the close. I love the ebb and build construction of this piece. It’s off the scale, unnerving and sinister.
The drum work really shines through the intense bursts of riffs brilliantly on Coarse Visions. It’s the first element to emerge on the track, and although the drum work is noticeably superb across the whole album and one of my favourite aspects, here, it really makes a good track into a great one.
I love how the vocals on Terrorizer assault your senses from the very offset. A galloping beast of a track that is an all-out attack from all directions, the midpoint drop and switch is jaw-droppingly impactful, particularly when the haunting leadwork rises out of the raw, slower riffing. It’s classic Death Metal but with a very forward-thinking twist.
A haunting repeat, superbly pummelling drum work and a short burst of lone bass work herald another all-out galloping assault in the shape of A Taste Of Ichor. I love the climbing riffs that repeatedly emerge across the track. They add such an unnerving edge to the sound, and the closing leadwork is none too shabby, either.
Drum battery and a cavernous roar herald the crunchy, punchy beast that is Internal Expansion, which also boasts another swathe of rather decent second-half squealing leadwork.
Revel In The Gore opens superbly with punchy repeat riffs, engaging drum flourishes and cavernous vocal roaring before breaking into an unstoppable raw drive. The vocals continuously punch their way powerfully through the riffs, and the second half leadwork is searingly good, also.
Final piece Review Guilt continues to pack a punch like its predecessors, gathering pace and power as it progresses, still managing to switch direction with slick precision. You get an ominously haunting drop in pace midway through the second half, which adds a sinister air and allows for a very expressive and varied side to the vocal delivery to develop before ramping up for one final head-spinning charge to the close, garnished by that all-important burst of searing leadwork.
Anyone who loves old-school Death Metal but wants to hear something fresh and exhilarating, then Death’s Toll is the album for you!