So I'm a little late with this one, but I would be remiss if I let an album by one of Seattle's finest go without a review on this site this year. "Merciless Hammer of Lucifer" is the fifth full-length album from DRAWN AND QUARTERED and it is about time you started paying attention to what is one of the most underrated, down 'n' dirty death metal bands on the planet.
Taking its cues from the likes of INCANTATION and vintage IMMOLATION, DRAWN AND QUARTERED has nearly cornered the market on doom-laden and twisted death metal. And yet on last year's "Hail Infernal Darkness", the band injected its obsidian brutality with a pinch more melody to make the tunes even more memorable. That trend continues on "Merciless Hammer of Lucifer", although let's not mislead anyone here; these are some sickening blasts of blasphemy that just happen to involve a little tunefulness. Coupled with guitarist K.K. Kuciemba's technically accomplished and hair-raising leads, the impact is akin to being crushed under the weight of an elephant stampede that somehow still leaves you growling along with Herb Burke's impossibly deep bellows on the choruses. Songs like "A Final Solution" burn and bash with unparalleled intensity, yet offer violent choruses that will be bouncing around the insides of your cracked cranium for hours on end.
Be forewarned, if you are not down with a smoke-damaged, comparatively lo-fi (but not basement shoddy at all) production, you may have some issues with this one. However, those that "get it" will understand that this is the way a DRAWN AND QUARTERED album should sound. And quite honestly, the mix is a tad better than what was heard on "Hail Infernal Darkness", and the instrument clarity is quite good.
Fans of the burnt to a crisp heaviness of the aforementioned legends of the genre are strongly advised to get with the program and pick up a copy of DRAWN AND QUARTERED's "Merciless Hammer of Lucifer", a skillful blend of death metal crush and compositional dynamics. It's just that simple.