Firespawn – Shadow Realms (Century Media)

Genre: Death Metal

With a collective CV that includes bands such as Entombed (or Entombed A.D.), Unleashed and Necrophobic, this Swedish supergroup have been there, done it and bought the black t-shirt. Death metal is in the quintet’s DNA, and with the likes of vocalist LG Petrov or guitarist Fredrick Folkare are in their line-up, Firespawn were never likely to disappoint.

Shadow Realms, though, isn’t quite what you’d expect: though delivered with plenty of Scandi-grit, the album shies away from the legendary (and much replicated) Stockholm sound, and feels more in tune with classic US death metal, a la Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse. The violent attack of early Slayer is evident too, especially on Spirit Of The Black Tide, and while Firespawn aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel, they’re clearly out to make a statement.

Take the title track for instance: opening with a complex, furious riff, anchored by a sinister groove and topped with the trademark bellow of Petrov, it’s death metal at its finest… and drips with malevolence. Not all of Shadow Realms hits these heights, but there’s plenty to get your teeth into among its 11 tracks, such as the infectious Necromance or the stomping, (almost) anthemic Lucifer Has Spoken.

It’s reassuring to know that these veterans are still capable of creating such a furious racket, and DM’s new breed could learn a thing or two from this, that’s for sure.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Incendiary