Scenteria

Act of Aggression

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AllMusic Review by

Blindfold tests can be quite revealing. Someone who is considered a jazz expert, for example, might be given ten different alto saxophonists to listen to, and if he/she can immediately identify Paul Desmond, Lee Konitz, Roscoe Mitchell or David Sanborn, it just goes to show how distinctive those altoists are. Well, there is no reason why blindfold tests cannot be given to death metal/black metal experts as well -- and such a test could easily demonstrate that death metal/black metal has its distinctive, easily recognizable bands (Slayer, Cradle of Filth, Carcass, At the Gates) as well as derivative, unoriginal bands. The derivative bands aren't necessarily bad -- some of them have merit -- and Act of Aggression shows Sweden's Scenteria to be an example of a decent but derivative band. In a blindfold test, no serious death metal/black metal expert one would hear Act of Aggression and find Scenteria to be distinctive or highly original; this dense, ferocious, totally bombastic CD mines the same death metal/black metal waters as countless other Nordic bands and does so with highly predictable results. But Act of Aggression isn't predictable in a boring way -- and in a sense, hearing Scenteria's harsh death metal/black metal assault is like hearing a skillful Young Lion jazz trumpeter paying homage to Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan or hearing an enjoyable punk revival band emulating the Clash or Cock Sparrer. Sure, you've heard it countless times before, but if it's well done, you still have to give the artist some credit. And while this sledgehammer effort isn't remarkable, it's a decent, well-executed example of the go-for-the-jugular approach. Anyone who expects Act of Aggression to point death metal/black metal in bold new directions will be disappointed, but all things considered, it's an exhilarating, if limited, demonstration of what the Swedish moshers have to offer.

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