Artist: Sanguis Imperem
Album Title: The Stagnation of Centuries
This is the first EP from Sanguis Imperem, an American band playing death metal.
The production on this record is relatively crisp and clean. The drumming is particularly snappy, especially the cymbals. Rumbling guitars, dual vocals (one guttural, one snarled), and the occasional lead guitar part round out Sanguis Imperem's sound. If there's a bass on this record, I can't make it out, which is impressive given how much low-end there is. Some parts are deeply oppressive, especially when both vocalists are going at once!
The album starts off fast, with the raging "The Fall of 66", but most of the songs on "The Stagnation of Centuries" are mid-paced and militant, with a few doom sections and blasting parts where appropriate. Sanguis Imperem sounds great at both tempos, lending them both plenty of variety. The chord selections are especially interesting... it's nice to see a band that avoids the obvious and does something a little different. The transitions between sections are also sublime, especially on "Humanity's Dirge". The amount of riffing, drum lines, and dual-vocal power packed into this single track is amazing! The "SLAVERY!" section is particularly stunning. "Led To Disaster" is another fast song, with alternating vocals and ripping guitar. I like the chorus a lot. "Intolerance" starts out with a loping, echoing riff, which runs through several variations before breaking into a sudden sprint. They're not kidding about the track name -- the totalitarian feeling here is exceptional! The album closes with a re-recorded track from their demo, "Conflagration". The sound here is much improved, especially during the closing section. Again, the alternation between fast and slow is perfect. The doom section at the end of this song is a fine way to close out the album, and leaves one wishing for more.
It's difficult to pick standout tracks for this one, as pretty much everything on this record is excellent. I happen to like the slow songs a bit more than the fast ones, but just about anyone who listens to death metal will find something to like here. Fans of Order From Chaos, Operation Winter Mist, Revenge, and the like should seek this out immediately. Don't miss Sanguis Imperem as they tour the Western US in June of 2008, either. Highly recommended!
Standout Tracks: "Humanity's Dirge", "Intolerance", "Conflagration"