FUCK you and your complacent attitudes, shouting into the void of social media. On the other side of the echo chamber online Memoriam have taken this fucked up 21st Century and turned it an uncompromising vision of a world dying on its last decaying legs.
If last year’s ‘The Silent Vigil’ was good ‘Requiem For Mankind’ is their masterpiece; visceral and violent, with a social conscience that rivals many an erstwhile punk release.
Brutal and thoughtful; dramatic and destructive this is a band that has thrown off the shackles of expectations from the member’s past stints (Bolt Thrower/Benediction) and established Memoriam as a force in their own right.
Karl Willets’ sounds as if he has observed the world decaying, and is railing with every ounce of his being while Scott Fairfax (guitars), Frank Healy (bass) and Andy Whale (drums) provide a succinct musical metal tapestry.
But this is not an album to just plonk on and play: it demands you take the time to appreciate what Memoriam can achieve. Some of the musicianship is outstanding, segments of ‘Undefeated’ are jaw dropping.
Fuck the labelling in the accompnying blurb that this is “old school death metal” because this is excellent metal without the need for tags and genre definitions.
Among the many stand out tracks is ‘Austerity Kills’ with Willets delivering virtuous vitriol against the cuts that leave the most vulnerable in society in dire life conditions. The pacing of the song, the passion and the lyricism such as “these are the cuts of the butcher’s knife” hammer home the injustice and pain.
While the world has fewer deaths and conflicts Requiem For Mankind points out the divisive nature of a globe where right wing populism is on the rise: a world which sees the 24/7 news cycle perpetuates fear; and a world in which the individual is a forgotten, nameless statistic.
And, it is the individual that many times Memoriam focus upon. ‘The Veteran’ is an achingly, poignant, and (metal) poem to the pathetic response by government to those that give all; those that are burdened by PTSD, while the pledge of the ‘military covenant’ by government rings hollow.
Russ Russell’ production manages to capture the raw nature inherent in this release, without sacrifing separation. and with what seems to be an almost instictive understanding of what the band are trying to achieve.
At first listening the closing track ‘Fixed Bayonets’ seems a little too straightforward in its narrative. However, married with opener ‘Shell Shock’ it serves as a reverse narrative, punctuated by ‘The Veteran’. And, here lies the genius of ‘Requiem For Mankind’, the focus is on effects, and how these affect the individual.
To label this as another death metal album is to do it a disservice. Requiem For Mankind should be on every metal fans’ playlist right now.
Requiem For Mankind is out now on Nuclear Blast