"Cowards Empire" is the 6th full-length studio album by Italian death metal act Node. The album was released through Punishment 18 Records in April 2016. It´s the successor to "In The End, Everything Is A Gag" from 2010, so the band have had a longer recording break. Node was formed in 1994 by Steve Minelli, but when he left in 1999, the band was left without any original members. Former lead vocalist Gary D'Eramo returned to the fold to keep the fire burning though (now as guitarist) and the band soldiered on. Node originally played a death/grind oriented style, but shifted towards a melodic thrash infuced death metal sound on later releases...
...and that´s also the musical style on "Cowards Empire". It´s technically well played death metal with thrash metal leanings and great melodic sensibility. The vocals are relatively high pitched snarling growls, which at times remind me of Jeff Walker (Carcass). Carcass is actually a pretty good reference (UK act Dām too), although Node aren´t exactly clones, but there are many similarities between contemporary Carcass and the music on "Cowards Empire". The vocals, the melodic death/thrash riffing, the social/political lyrics, and the occasional death´n´roll riff.
"Cowards Empire" is relatively well produced and the musicianship is pretty strong too. The material on the album is also relatively well written, but it´s not an album where the tracks stand out much. Maybe except for the 7:55 minutes long instrumental "The Plot Survives". So Node could still work on their songwriting to make it more catchy and memorable. When that is said a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is still deserved.