My last memory of Australia's THE BERZERKER is seeing them perform with ORIGIN, VADER, and IMMOLATION a couple of years ago. I recall being intrigued by the masked madmen, but not all that moved with the music itself, though I did find some redeeming value in the forceful, samples-laden approach. Admittedly, the sound mix during the band's set was shit, so I left without forming a strong opinion one way or the others. Having not heard "Dissimulate", I was cautiously optimistic that "World of Lies" would show me something. It did.
There is plenty of upside on "World of Lies". First, the production is fantastic — and I mean it is friggin' gigantically brutal. The guitar tone is down-tuned, fat and menacing, and the low-end chest thumping. The industrial edge (the fuzz, buzz, etc) adds a great deal. Even the programmed drums are blastastic and scrotum-squeezing tight; the speed-of-light kick drum effects are excellent as well. Yes, I dig the mix. I do wish the growls and sick shrieks were a bit higher in the mix, as I think it would have brought some of the latent tunefulness to the surface.
Musically, the main idea is to blind with speed and overrun any survivors with extreme prejudice. I would term the style as grindy death metal; grindcore wouldn't be totally inaccurate though. There is a kind of old school CARCASS sensibility that swims just beneath the surface. As far as the songwriting is concerned, I wouldn't necessarily put it in league with the UK's finest, but the tunes are certainly well above average. There is a consistency of quality across the album that makes up for the lack of any one star tune. To name just a handful, "Black Heart", "All About You", "Afterlife", and "Never Hated More" all possess killer grooves and just enough melody to make them memorable. Interestingly enough, the album had me thinking of a deathed-up MINISTRY on several occasions. Listen to "Free Yourself" and you'll hear what I mean. Of course, the spoken samples heard throughout will tend to give one that vibe as well. The oddball track here is the album-closer, "Farewell", yet it is also one of the most moving instrumentals I've heard on a death metal album. I'd even call it darkly beautiful. There is just something about the soothing synth lines and tuneful riff that gets me every time.
One of the biggest things "World of Lies" has going for it is the feeling of complete annihilation conveyed. The attack is a ruthless one and the powerful mix makes it even more so. I can state without hesitation that you'd be hard pressed to find many albums that crush with this level of ferocity. At one point I was considering a rating of 7.5, but considering the completeness of the destruction wrought decided that the album deserves an 8.