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Feral - "Dragged To The Altar" (CD)

Feral - "Dragged To The Altar" CD cover image

"Dragged To The Altar" track listing:

1. Once Inside the Tomb
2. Altar of Necromancy
3. Judas
4. Welcome to the Graveyard
5. Howling
6. The Deathbog
7. Graverobber
8. The Curse of the Casket
9. Behead the Crucifix
10. Malevolent Summoning
11. Outro

Reviewed by on July 29, 2011

"Feral doesn't break ground or pretend to be something over the top - they are just decent thrash combined with a death 'n' roll groove that makes for a good listen."

When a band releases their debut, there aren't as many preconceived notions of what their music should sound like - and that can be a good thing. In the case of Sweden's Feral, scant material had been released from them leading up to this debut, so I went into listening to "Dragged to the Altar" not expecting any particular outcome.

The result was a good, catchy ride. Feral bills themselves as part of the death 'n' roll genre and to an extent, I can see that. The album kicks off with quick thrashing hooks that groove non-stop throughout "Once Inside the Tomb" and most of the other tracks. The loud, punctuated riffing is very similar to Entombed circa "Hollowman," and flows very well. They don't let up at all during the course of the album, delivering nice consistent motion of rhythm in "Graverobber" and slamming grooves in "Howling." The good rhythm and percussion continues in "The Deathbog," as one track continues to segue nicely into another without missing much of a beat.

In this sense, Feral are death 'n' roll - although it really depends on your definition of it. Feral are far more thrashing than your average band from that genre and possess a lot more speed than, say, The Profane. Most of the songs have that solid, full-speed-ahead rhythm, but they do vary it up on several tracks. "Welcome to the Graveyard" changes the tempo to louder and slower, as does "Judas" with its wall of drumming. Their style at times reminds me of Usurper in that direct way that they deliver a metallic stream, albeit Hook's vocals are much more guttural. "Behead the Crucifix" keeps the tempo at that middle ground, the ideal point for thrash and rock to combine seamlessly.

What I like about Feral is their ability to write songs that are consistently engaging, not making the listener prone to lose interest after a spin or two. Whether a nice stomper with faster and slower refrains like "Altar of Necromancy" or a spirally fast track such as "Malevolent Summoning," they command good rhythmic thrash. There is very little filler in this release, with the exception of an out-of-place acoustic outro and a couple of tracks that languish due to repetition, like "Curse of the Casket."

On the whole, "Dragged to the Altar" is consistent and catchy. Feral doesn't break ground or pretend to be something over the top - they are just decent thrash combined with a death 'n' roll groove that makes for a good listen.

Highs: Good catchy thrash with a solid rocking groove.

Lows: Minor repetition issues in a few of the songs.

Bottom line: Good debut effort from this Swedish death 'n' roll combo.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)