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Diseim - "Holy Wrath" (CD)

Diseim - "Holy Wrath" CD cover image

"Holy Wrath" track listing:

1. Black
2. Holy Wrath
3. Pyromania
4. Sinner
5. Insanity
6. Son of the Winter
7. Witch
8. Agony

Reviewed by on May 8, 2012

"That's the whole problem with 'Holy Wrath'; it has a style that lacks flow and songwriting that needs to be developed."

Usually when one listens to an album, it is hard to know whether you'll like the whole release based upon the first song. In the case of Latvian band Diseim, it actually proved to be the case. "Black" starts out "Holy Wrath" with the oddest vocals ever, sounding like a tracheotomy until the vocalist settles into his usual range. That first jarring experience stays with you and turns into more on "Holy Wrath."

After those vocals, the rest of "Black" sets the tone for eight songs of slower, melodic groove/death metal. Vocalist Sergei Stavro has a style that is definitely eastern European, rife with a nice accent that comes out in his slow, gruff deliverance. He sounds akin to Tom Angelripper's style on slower Sodom tunes. "Holy Wrath" continues with the slower slabs of sludge guitar, slung loudly. The problem is, the songs never really go anywhere.

Most of "Holy Wrath" ends up in that quandary. It's like a flightless bird that never really gets off the ground. After the sound bite in "Sinner," the track aims at building into a song, but never gets up to speed. It continues on at that same agonizing anti-climactic pace that falls flat. Tracks like "Agony" suffer from that same generic flow that occasionally picks up in the middle with some leads. It's almost like the band throws in some riffs and growls as an afterthought to break up the monotony.

Much of the album tries to blend several styles in an identity crisis. Diseim tries slower, melodic black death in "Son of the Winter," when what would've sounded better is amplifying the straight sludge and focusing on making more creative songs. "Pyromania" is the one exception on the album. This song is catchy, memorable and Stavro shines on it. He gets animated in this faster-paced death metal outing. The lyrics are a bit cliche, but its energy is stellar.

Other than this, the rest of "Holy Wrath" drifts into ennui. The nice quirky start to "Witch" could have been expanded upon, instead stumbling along into a song that goes nowhere. Those loud guitars that make "Insanity" are never given the room to become something more. It's unfortunate, because Diseim really has some good elements in the vocals and rhythm sound, but they need to write engaging material and songs that keep your attention.

That's the whole problem with "Holy Wrath"; it has a style that lacks flow and songwriting that needs to be developed. I like how the band has developed an eerie sound given that added boost of the slow, ominous guitar; however, a song will wear out its welcome when there isn't too much variety within it to stand out. You can be an eccentric band like the lot in Diseim, but you still have to write memorable material.

Highs: Nice loud slabs of guitar and a dark, ominous feel.

Lows: Songs generally don't go anywhere and fall pretty flat.

Bottom line: A couple of decent songs, but not enough to engage the listener.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

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)