Review Summary: 74 minutes of succulent groove-based death metal.
When it comes to heavy, merciless, groove-based death metal - a genre saturated with plenty of big-name crowd pleasers - you have to rise high above the rank and file to be competitive. That's exactly what was accomplished by Seduced, a two-man death outfit out of Austria. Their 2014 sophomore effort, "The Proclamation
", is a whopping sixteen-track full-length that remains brutally consistent across its running time of an hour and thirteen minutes - something that even the most experienced of death metal acts today refrain from attempting. Though holistically impressive, the Austrians also managed to establish a concrete and powerful sound on this record, where every instrument is perfectly calculated to deliver crushing riffs, pummeling drum fills, and a refreshing variety of vocal deliveries.
Those vocals are the very things that get everything started with the opening track "Automatic Execution". Between the at-times guttural lows and the shrieking highs found further down the album's tracklist, the sound of "The Proclamation
" is elevated in accessibility just by how versatile the vocalist is. Flexibility in delivery is a trait that many aspire to, but Seduced is one of the few bands in their genre whose vocalist's performance is so widely varied. The lowest of lows, the highest of highs, and everything in between serves to propel the mix forward, and meshes incredibly well with the groove-based approach they took to their instrumentals.
While much of the guitarwork is blazing fast, some of the album's most powerful moments come from the slow, steady, and calculated assault showcased on "A Defect in Mind" and the groovy, bass-heavy riffs on "The Glorious Proclamation". The sheer force of the guitarwork, when combined with that of the vocals, is an unmistakable signature of every song on this record; from the frenetic pace of "The Tools of Death" to the groovier approach on "The Living Forces of Evil", every component Seduced uses to craft their instrumentation serves its purpose.
To boot, "The Proclamation
" has some of the most aggressive and rampaging drum fills I've heard all year, rivaling the likes of Origin and Job for a Cowboy. With more hat hits than a Black Dahlia Murder album and almost as many bass kicks, session drummer Lorenz Lechner does a fantastic job complementing the mix with his incredibly-detailed fills that populate nearly every second of the tracklist on "The Proclamation
". In particular, his performance on "Obscured Nightmares" and "Book of Human Flesh" show the same level of versatility as Seduced's vocalist. The basswork on the album is unfortunately shrouded by the rest of the mix for much of the record's running time, but it can easily be heard providing a powerful foundation on the album's closing track, "Sanctum of the Devil, the King".
After listening to "The Proclamation
", Seduced's experience with structure and songwriting is impossible to debate. With this level of unbridled brutality and heaviness this early in their career, this album is more than just an incredible listen - it's a glimpse into the band's future, and a promise of even better things to come. There's room for consolidation and improvement for the successor to "The Proclamation
", and judging by the band's capabilities, it's easy to predict a natural evolution of Seduced's sound and song structure when the time comes to write their third full-length.