STYGIAN DARK — Gorelords of War (review)

STYGIAN DARK — Gorelords of War album cover Album · 2021 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
UMUR
"Gorelords of War" is the debut full-length studio album by multi-national death metal act Stygian Dark. The album was released through Old Shadows Records in April 2021. Stygian Dark´s lineup features guitarist Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, Those Who Bring the Torture, Down Among the Dead Men...etc.) and lead vocalist Dave Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Down Among the Dead Men), bassist Alwin Roes (Abyss, Dead End), and drummer Jon Rudin (Those Who Bring the Torture, Dead Sun...etc.). So it´s definitely a seasoned crew, who have previously worked together in other constellations and projects.

Stylistically the material on "Gorelords of War" is early 90s influenced death metal, and both of Ingram´s 90s bands Benediction and Bolt Thrower should be counted among the influences on Stygian Dark. In fact the opening title track reeks a Bolt Thrower influence that´s so obvious that it´s almost too much. The quality of the songwriting is unfortunately not on the high level of the influences, and I´m afraid this is one of those Rogga related projects where he brought his B-game riffs. It´s solid old school death metal, but you´ll find very few riffs and song sections, that you´ll be able to remember when the album stops playing. Ingram does everything to alter that and bring some quality to the project, and he occassionally succeeds with some commanding growling vocals and memorable lyrics, but it´s simply not enough, when the instrumental part of the music is so mediocre...and it´s not only the riffs, the drumming is also sterile and too simplistic in nature to stir up any emotions in me but indifference.

"Gorelords of War" also features a sound production, which leaves something to be desired. It lacks the rawness and organic power that is so important for music of this nature. Again the word sterile is unfortunately the word I´d chose to describe the sound production. When all is said though, "Gorelords of War" isn´t a bad quality release, and I did partially enjoy it while it played, but considering the musical capacities involved in the making of this album, it´s hard not to be a little disappointed by the end result. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.
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