The Great Deceiver

Jet Black Art

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Grotesque fans rejoice! Two of Sweden's forefathers have allied again to unleash the Great Deceiver. Diabolique's Kristian Wahlin and Tomas Lindberg of the sadly deceased At the Gates have chosen to strip down the sound and return to their early primal roots. Gone are the nicknames and death metal trappings, remaining is peerless skill and war-like aggression. This is de-tuned, nasty, dirty, crust punk/hardcore, and imitators need not apply. Musically, the low-fi approach works like a charm, even if it brushes a little too close to Ross Robinson's Sepultura experiment at times. The drums and bass drive, while the guitars meander between focused energy and piercing brutality -- a subtle mix, no doubt brought upon by Wahlin's patient professionalism. The only criticism of the music is the previously mentioned monotonous Robinson bass thud, which a certain Swedish quintet known as Entombed perfected seven years prior! It is safe to say, though, that the vocal performance by Lindberg is the entire focal point of this album. For this performance alone (not to mention his ATG and Skitsystem stuff), someone should get this guy a medal. His talent is thus far uncharted. His schitzo-deathcore vocals pummel on every listen, especially evidenced on "The End Made Flesh and Blood." Remembering the unique pleasure he brought to ATG's Slaughter of the Soul, it is obvious that the Discharge influence he absorbed from his stint with Skitsystem has meshed well with his spine-tingling shrills of expiration. Lindberg's socially conscious lyrics, started on Slaughter, continue to improve to the point of biting brilliance, excepting his odd predilection toward the phrase "forever more." This is short, sharp, and far from perfect, but the shortcomings are easily forgettable, simply for one reason -- Tomas Lindberg. The fact that he is back in the metal realm, not lost in obscure 7" land, quenches all criticisms.

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