As most readers will know Sweden is a country with a long history of death metal with the Swedish sound of the early nineties becoming one of the most influential movements in the genre and, later, the formation of the Gothenburg sound of melodic death metal. As such Sweden is, to this day, still a breeding ground for death metal bands. Some are good and some are bad and generally they all sound fairly similar as they follow the path of traditional Swedish death or the new way of melodeath. How refreshing it is, then, to have the opportunity to listen to a band like Bastard Priest!
What the guys in Bastard Priest have done is to take their background in hardcore punk and fuse it with some elements of classic Swedish death metal. As such they have created their own sound and forged their own identity. In some ways they are like the UK's Bolt Thrower or Benediction, wearing their hardcore punk roots on their sleeves in their relatively simple approach. This is raw, dirty death metal that relies on chunky riffing to draw the listener in. This is not to say that the album is devoid of skill. Far from it in fact! Instead of the overly technical, soulless wank of bands such as Necrophagist and Obscura you get actual songs with short solos that enhance the track and good, simple drumming that drives the song.
Vocally too, the band differs from a lot of the more traditional death metal acts. However, they are very reminiscent of the legendary Chuck Schuldiner (Death). The growls are not deep but they are hoarse. Both members of the band, Inventor and Matt Mendoza, lend their voices to the album.
Under The Hammer Of Destruction contains eleven songs, of which three are completely new tracks. The others were available on the 2007 and 2008 demos. I haven't heard the demos so I cannot say, if the songs are improved, but I can tell you that this album is a great listen from start to finish!
Fans of raw, old school death metal should check this out. One of the genres real highlights this year.