In Battle

Kingdom of Fear

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In Battle is an appropriate name for this Swedish extreme metal band; after Kingdom of Fear is finished playing, the listener feels like he/she has been on the front lines during an incredibly bloody battle. This is not an album that values nuance; In Battle's obvious goal was to be as vicious as possible, and they accomplish that with a skullcrushing blend of technical death metal, black metal, and metalcore/hardcore. The songs on Kingdom of Fear are essentially structured like death metal songs, although black metal elements (including a lot of blastbeats) are incorporated. So one could say that Kingdom of Fear is essentially blackened death metal -- that wouldn't be misleading -- although lead singer Odhinn Sandin favors an extreme vocal style that is neither death metal's deep, guttural Cookie Monster growl nor black metal's sinister rasp. Instead, Sandin's screaming vocals are closer to what one finds in hardcore and metalcore; however, he is relatively understandable, unlike a lot of singers in extreme metal. But the fact that Sandin doesn't render the lyrics totally indecipherable doesn't make Kingdom of Fear any less ferocious. This is a dense, corrosive, bruising, claustrophobic effort that beats the listener into submission and takes pleasure in doing so. Much of the carnage occurs at breakneck speed; In Battle slows down the ultra-fast tempos on occasion, but when that happens, it isn't long before they're playing insanely fast again. Kingdom of Fear isn't terribly memorable -- there isn't much to separate In Battle from countless other Scandinavian bands that are doing this type of thing -- but it's a competent effort that is noteworthy if one appreciates harshness for the sake of harshness.

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