Monday, 10 May 2021

ALBUM REVIEW: Memoriam, "To The End"

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/03/2021
Label: Reaper Entertainment Europe

“To The End” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1. ‘Onwards Into Battle’
2. ‘This War Is Won’
3. ‘No Effect’
4. ‘Failure To Comply’
5. ‘Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)’
6. ‘To The End’
7. ‘Vacant Stare’
8. ‘Mass Psychosis’
9. ‘As My Heart Grows Cold’
The Review:
Memoriam return with this, their fourth full length effort- the blinding speed of creativity! The band are working hard and fast- obviously- and with ex-members of Bolt Thrower and Benediction etc. being a huge selling point, what have they got left now that the cannons have faded?
Well, this record is absolutely business as usual. The chugging tank pacing is there from the beginning, the production and sound even better this time around, with a killer mix to boot. Willets sounds as good as he ever has and the band, bolstered by Spike T Smith on drums, really seem to have nailed down their sound. Smith's drumming is excellent- a real masterclass on how to play this kind of music- tasteful ride work, good fills, busy when he needs to be.
The tracks are uniformly improved by his drumming and the band seem to be developing their doom leanings. Opener “Onwards Into Battle” is an unstoppable armoured car, they up the speed on “This War Is Won” and hit a mid paced groove on “No Effect” after that. Essentially, then, this is Memoriam running through the gears and the death metal textbook- which at various times the members helped to write in the first place.
Conceived as they were as a kind of tribute to late Bolt Thrower drummer Martin Kiddie Kearns, the band has gone way beyond that now. Memoriam have had chart success in Europe and are now a firm fixture on the British death metal scene and circuit. In all honesty, I can’t think of many other UK death metal bands that can boast the same kind of firepower and presence- Carcass, several sizes down there is Cruciamentum... it's becoming a short list.
All aspects of the band's sound and strengths are here- bulldozing riffage, gravestone doom- “Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)” is as mournful and slow as anything else in the doom death sub-genre- whilst the band even delivers a powerful title track with shades of classic Sepultura to the opening.
The punk elements are here too- “Mass Psychosis” is a good example of the band sounding almost industrial and punk- while the Bolt Thrower-esque lead work is present as well across the record. The album closes mournfully and impressively with “As My Heart Grows Cold”.
On balance, I think this is the finest Memoriam album yet and one that can sit proudly with anything the members have done in the past. The UK and death metal as a whole needs this band- standard bearers and bar setters. Long may they reign.
“To The End” is available HERE 

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