Deserted FearDrowned By Humanity (Century Media)

Since their formation on 2007, Germany’s Deserted Fear have barely stopped for breath – and their impressive work ethic is really starting to pay off.

Third album Dead Shores Rising, their 2016 debut for Century Media, announced their arrival as melodic death metal standard bearers, a band prepared to go to toe to toe with the Swedes and match them at their own game.

And Drowned By Humanity is equally impressive. It’s not as outwardly fierce as its predecessor, but the record is built from sharper melodies and adheres to a more complex blueprint. It’s emotionally deeper and the focus is on cohesive songwriting:  Fabian Hildebrandt and Manuel Glatter’s riffs are essential ingredients, yes, but on this album, they are fuel for tracks like A Breathing Soul, not the engine itself.

As a result, Drowned By Humanity is a slicker effort… and so loses some of the frantic, At The Gates-style moments that made Dead Shores Rising such an incendiary DM opus. Does that make it weak? Far from it. Deserted Fear now have a clutch of genuine anthems to call their own, tracks that should serve them well as they rightly ascend the festival bills.

An Everlasting Dawn is a flesh-piercing shard of crystalline melodeath, Reflect The Storm is pure exhilaration, with the kind of dramatic punch that would make many a US metalcore act envious and then there’s The Final Chapter: open this up and you’ll be washed away by a colossal, double kick driven groove and low slung riffery, with Deserted Fear again scaling new heights as the chorus bursts into life.

Still getting enough of a hit from your old Dark Tranquility and In Flames records to justify ignoring Deserted Fear? So be it. But you’d surely be missing out on one of melodic death metal’s hottest prospects.