Review Summary: Somewhat technical but never quite heavy enough, Deathreat is nonetheless an adequate death metal effort from one of France's oldest exports of the genre.
Agressor is one of the older metal bands from France, and grew to prominence alongside Loudblast
. With less longevity than the former and slightly weaker material than the latter, Agressor nonetheless served as an earlier innovator within European death metal, and the progressive tinges in their 90s work make it quite worthwhile for the average death metal listener. However, Deathreat is largely very straightforward death metal, with some technical and black metal tinges occasionally seeping through, resulting in a solid but unexceptional effort from the veteran band.
Deathreat suffers from a few of the average modern tech-death tropes, with clear and sharp but not particularly heavy production, and especially anaemic drum sounds. It also doesn't really manage to delve into any truly heavy grooves or interesting lead guitar work, but the essential component, the riffing, is satisfyingly varied and proficient. When Darkness
and Warrior Heart
's blackened death metal tinges help deviate from the more standard (not to say dull) death/thrash riffs of the title track and the pummeling Lust of the Flesh
. More "progressive death metal-ish" riffs arise on tracks like Transmutation
as well, resulting in the album being a pretty enjoyable riff jamboree.
The problems arise with tracks like Nightmare Comes By Order of Chaos
. which tend to have their moments but just not quite enough quality in their verses to really sustain a whole song. Coupled with the rather sterile production, there are some quite boring segments of the album, a problem that could have been fixed by removing a couple of tracks or perhaps grafting together their ideas. Instead, incomplete ideas seem to have been formed into songs by putting in pretty bland musical content, which is regrettable considering the strength of tracks like When Darkness, Lust of the Flesh and Transmutation.
Deathreat is honestly a pretty admirable performance for a relatively old band adapting to modern songwriting and production standards, with several enjoyable tracks and none of the excessive conservatism one usually finds with old school death metal bands trying to make a comeback. Whilst sometimes dull as a result of a few mediocre riffs and someone lacking songwriting on the weaker tracks, Deathreat's stronger efforts make it more or less worthwhile for fans of the band or the straightforward style of death metal they provide.