Chastisement

Alleviation of Pain

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Although released in 2004, the tracks for Alleviation of Pain were originally recorded in 2001 -- when Swedish deathsters Chastisement had yet to score a record deal. Enterprising kids, these. Capturing the rough, gurgling ferocity of early-day Entombed, the band's driving, chunky brand of death metal harks back to the New Wave of Swedish Death Metal's early-'90s style, also recalling God Macabre and Carnage in spirit. And despite the genre's evolutions since that time, it must be said that Chastisement really know what to do to make their slightly retro approach sound fresh and vital. Witness openers "Another Pace" and "Destructutorial": kept to economical, two-minute bursts, they are sharp, brutal, and effective. The slightly more developed "Soul Evasion" doesn't lose sight of these core strengths either, and any stylistic departures are saved for instrumental interludes such as "The Journey" and "Joie de Vivre." The band's creativity threatens to wear a bit thin halfway through, but subsequent tracks like "Time Zone Zero" (very "rot & roll"-approved) and "Disowned" (intriguingly complex, yet surprisingly melodic) come to listeners' immediate rescue yet again. The album's parting shots once again take a small dip, but still manage to carry the day based on pure guts and attitude -- see the black metal stomp "Redeemer," for instance. In short, while hardly perfect or revolutionary, Alleviation of Pain is a confident, honest, and seductive outing for this quintet.

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