Review Summary: Old School Death Metal in the Vein of Bolt Thrower and Benediction
Memoriam hails from Birmingham, England and includes members of Bolt Thrower, Benediction, and Cerebral Fix. Before even listening to the album, one is struck by the excellent cover artwork, courtesy of Dan Seagrave. Seagrave has done cover artwork for the likes of Suffocation, Benediction, Dismember and Hyposcrisy. I really do adore his style of art and and this album's cover artwork is no exception.
Now to the music. The opening riff of the first track on the album, "Soulless Parasite", is a great opening riff that builds with some variation until the band launches into the main part of the song. "Nothing Remains" exemplifies what the band does often throughout the album, going from driving faster sections to groovy, slower sections. The song has a great break down riff that stands out in particular. Try not to bang your head at all through this album, let alone any single track and I think you will find it to be an exercise in futility. "From the Flames" had me banging my head through the whole track. The title track is short and sweet, but has some interesting guitar harmonic work on it. The main riff of "Bleed the Same" is memorable, surrounded by some heavy riffs and churning, tremming guitar work typical of this style of death metal. The stand out track for me was "As Bridges Burn". The last half of the song when the band launches into some thrashy death metal beats really picked of the pace of things. "The New Dark Ages" features a memorable, quality riff that will stick in your head. Finally, the band ends the album with the track "Weaponised Fear". This song a notable interlude with some harmonized leads which quickly lead back into a groovy, thrashy riff.
The guitar work is exactly what one would expect from this genre of music: heavy, harmonized, with some tremming and palm-muted thrashing riffs. There are no shortage of riffs with this band. The riffing is not of a wide variety most of the time, but what they do, they do well. The drums have a good amount of variety, and I especially like the breakdown sections where the band will do stops with the drums and then launch into the featured riff full force. The bass guitar work mirrors the guitars, and you can hear it in the mix just fine. Finally, the vocal delivery is spot on and I find Karl Willets has a unique style which sets him apart from most other death metal vocalists. In some ways, his vocals remind me of Barney Greenway's of Napalm Death.
If you are a fan of Bolt Thrower's style of death metal (that old school death metal sound which they are so well known for) then you will certainly want to check out The Silent Vigil. The album isn't breaking any new ground, but instead gets it's quality from sticking with the tried and true formula of that recognizable "old school death metal" sound, and they pull it off quite well. I especially recommend this album to all of you "old school death metal" heads out there.