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DeathOmen - Above Holy Ground (2020) - Review

Band: DeathOmen
Album title: Above Holy Ground
Release date: 21 December 2020
Label: Self-Released
Genre: Metal/Blackened Metal/Thrash Metal/Dark Metal

Tracklist:
01. Procreator
02. Grave Gravity
03. Reac-TOR-menT
04. Rise of the DeathOmen
05. Red Milk
06. The Iron Island
07. Bleeding Dead
08. Aphelion

The Slovenian trio DeathOmen is a new metal force to be reckoned with in the recently rather stagnating Slovenian metal ground. Saying that this is a new band is not entirely right, because this project already existed back in the late 80s, but nothing much was done then, and the band soon ceased to exist and went into oblivion (you can read more about them over HERE). Now DeathOmen like a phoenix emerged from the ashes and it brings metal, pure and proud style of metal that will please the tastes of a wider group of metalheads. Metal, done without any restrictions and genre limitations, and due to this fact, Above Holy Ground is an album that can at the same time feel very fresh and sounding old-school.

DeathOmen made very elaborate concept with this album, not only musically but also visually and lyrically, dealing with the occult, human relations, post-apocalyptic visions and personal views/thoughts about humanity and destruction. It's a kind of trip into the depths of darkness, that is bringing plague and destruction to this world and civilization. A demonic force shines within those riffs, rhythms and words that slowly penetrate the mind of a devoted listener.

Musically speaking, as I said above, no limits are set. DeathOmen is influenced by the 80s thrash, death and first wave black metal bands such as Kreator, Sodom, Venom, Bathory and Celtic Frost, but in the music, there are obvious hints to traditional heavy metal and progressive stuff, yet to some experimental things, which can be compared to early Voivod. The guitar riffs are captivating, often melodic, sometimes fuzzy, the rhythmic lines are dynamic, and I'm sure that the necks of headbangers will hurt. There are not many guitar leads, just a couple of short ones, and bass guitar is nothing extravagant but is more or less following the rhythm. The drums are amazing, technically complete, precise and above all, thunderous. Here and there DeathOmen go into the full blast, just listen for example how aggressive it gets the short "Bleeding Dead". The half spoke raspy and morbid, yet understandable vocals add a certain dose of poetic and narrative feeling and make the things gloomier as it would be otherwise. But in my opinion, the voice is a little bit too restrained, and it could be a bit more dynamic and expressive.

Fans of early thrash metal, especially of cult albums like Endless Pain and Persecution Mania, will love the tracks such as the opener "Procreator" or "Reac-TOR-ment" and those into doomier, broody and more atmospheric stuff will praise the absolute darkness of "Red Milk". The things get pretty interesting with killer melodic riffs in "Rise Of The DeathOmen", but if you want a real metal sonic journey with a lot of experimentation and drama, here's the 22 minutes long epic "Aphelion", which is smoothly divided into eight parts. There's more to discover, and since this is not an album that unveils all of the attributes and hidden layers at the very first listen, you'll need to take some time with it to get all of what Above Holy Ground offers, and believe me, if you are a fan of the darker side of metal, you'll not be disappointed.

DeathOmen's debut is an interesting album, full of variations. It maybe lacks some professionalism, especially productional wise, but maybe this is a plus in this matter, as it makes the sound heavier, darker, demonic and primordial. The sound is rich and dense even without the use of any additional synths or electronic helpers. It is metal in its finest primal form where everything is possible. It's dark and contemplative; it definitely captivates the listener and doesn't let go that easily.

The review was written by Tomaz
Rating: 8/10

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