Seattle-based death metal legends Drawn And Quartered have undoubtedly produced their darkest, most expansive material to date with stunning new album “Merciless Hammer Of Lucifer”. Nodding in a not-so-subtle way towards Immolation and Morbid Angel in both its blacker then black songwriting and sunken production values, this new material is exactly what death metal should be without using the now tiresome gore gimmicks (yawn) or incomprehensible song structuring that currently plagues this sort of music.
With 14 years experience and five albums under their belts it is not surprising that “Merciless Hammer Of Lucifer” is Drawn And Quartered’s most mature release to date, focusing their collective talents on writing songs that are both brutal and memorable at the same time. Opener “Sickness Redeemer” slithers serpentine through the speakers utilizing an expertly executed balance between all-out brutality and sinister melodies/lead lines, which although buried deep within its blackened core, act like a creeping shadow ready to tear your soul apart. Capturing an atmosphere ripe with a real sense of danger, the brooding soundscapes of “Funeral Pyres Of Annihilation” and “Cyanide Sacrament” etch themselves deep within the skin enabling the gritty guitar work and pounding rhythms to wash over you like a lead tsunami. Add to that the rumbling blasphemous growls of man-beast Herb Burke and what you have is music that has enough fire and spirit to melt glaciers, managing in one totally odious, completely intentional swoop to crush all pretenders trying to find a place within this genre.
Taking the ancient rotting corpse of the old school and wrapping it in the bloodied garment of more modern death metal, “Merciless Hammer Of Lucifer” is an absolute must for anyone even remotely interested in this style of music. So, for a sickening taste of some of the deepest and darkest death metal put to tape you need look no further, because Drawn And Quartered are most definitely at the top of their game. (DaveW)