Review Summary: Approaching more technical styles but avoiding their weaknesses, Gerra is a polished and groovy death metal affair.
One consistent problem in the current death metal scene is the clinging to a genres roots and main style. Brutal death metal currently all sounds like a dumber version of Suffocation
, and while technical death metal is varied it rarely applies proper songwriting. Luckily, a few notable bands from each genre change things about enough to keep the genre fresh, but how often do you find a band that manages to effectively use a variety of extreme styles into one, effective, cohesive package? That's where Sectu tidily fits, and while not entirely groundbreaking or quite reaching its full potential, Gerra is a good listen for fans of pretty much any modern death metal subgenre, successfully blending technicality, brutality and groove into an enjoyable package.
Instrumentally Gerra is solid in every aspect. The guitars on the album sound fantastic and performs a solid mix of technical runs, groovy riffs, and slower lines, while the guitar solos vary from melodic to more chaotic lines. The drums are the death metal staple, but are varied enough to still be effective, not always relying on blasting and successfully navigating multiple tempos effectively. The bass isn't especially audible in the mix but lays a solid groundwork for the rest of the band. The vocals aren't especially innovative but aren't quite as guttural and low as some modern death metal bands, but pleasantly avoid the trap of sounding like Mike Disalvo that Gorod
recently fell into. It's also worth noting the generally well balanced nature of the mixing, which gives the album a rather polished and smooth feel.
The album immediately opens up on it's most technical track, Incinerate
, which is brutal but consistently has an effective melody to match its pulverizing pace and technicality, and isn't afraid to keep a more melodic riff through what is effectively its chorus. Following track Nightwraiths
is slower and groovier throughout, occasionally reaching almost doomy sections, without getting excessively brutal or feeling out of place.
Subsequent tracks generally follow the styles of these first tracks without falling into stagnation due to the strength of the songwriting, with album highlight Havok
favoring catchiness without excessive technicality, while Court Of the Sloths
plods at a slow pace with a riff powerful enough to shatter your spine. Manifest
ploughs ahead with catchy and technical riffing offset by punishingly powerful grooves, but it never loses focus and drive. Divest
is consistently pummeling and provides some of the most aggressive riffs of the album.
Unfortunately, despite all the album's strengths, it still doesn't really stand out as much as it should. While several tracks are great, some, such as Allured God
feel somewhat weaker and less unique than others. However, this overall a very entertaining death metal album that doesn't feel stale or especially derivative despite drawing on some rather clear influences (Morbid Angel
-style pinch harmonics are prevalent). If you're looking for a fun and powerful modern death metal album, here's where to look.
Court Of Sloths