There must have been some band somewhere that named an album "Lucifer Rising", right? Well, if not, why not? Anyway, on the second release from Sweden's KAAMOS, I'm reminded of what real Swedish death metal is all about. "Lucifer Rising" is not about the Gothenburg sound, nor is it about clean-to-gruff vocals, and certainly not about crossover appeal. This is the music of GRAVE, VOMITORY, and DISMEMBER, the stuff that's covered with an inch of dirt and conjures up images of amplifiers on the verge of blowing, a tangled mess of guitar cords, and a whole lotta beer. It may not be groundbreaking, but damn these guys are good at cranking out quality old-school death metal!
Perhaps most refreshing is the band's ability to write songs that are memorable and beg for repeat listens. You can bang your head 'til you're bloody to nasty bashers like "Black Revelation", and "Gnosticon", yet still catch yourself mouthing the words. The title track is sure to result in crowds singing the catchy chorus in unison at a live show. Frantic speed killers like "Sacrament in Red" get the 'ole noggin moving back and forth, regardless of the nervous feeling induced by the track, something akin to a caffeine overdose.
A natural drum sound that eschews blast-happiness in favor of a fast and furious approach actually had me tapping my foot to the beat at several points along the way. That's about feeling, something more than what pure technical prowess can provide. The double-bass work comes in spurts and only when needed, instead of overwhelming the song with triggered percussion. Attempts to be as brutal and over-the-top as possible by attaining studio perfection through technological overkill often results in a dulled edge and antiseptic sound. The dirty, rugged style of the classic Swedish and American masters came from underground conviction and over-amplification, the rest left up to the musicians to squeeze every ounce of passion out of an instrument. KAAMOS gets it. One listen to "Lucifer Rising" will tell you that.