Ultimate Death

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As is the case with their entire discography, Deathwitch's third album, 1998's The Ultimate Death, represents a graphic exhumation of original black and death metal's decayed corpses; utterly rejecting the refinements and diversification achieved by both of these metallic subgenres over the previous decade in order to banquet on the festering remnants of their most primal base matter. In other words, their songs generally sound like shit, but it's all on purpose! Telltale titles like "Necromancer's Rites," "Condemned to the Grave," "Witches Morbid Lust," and "Pestilent Pandemonium" really say it all: this Swedish quartet draws limitless inspiration from black metal's European arch-pioneers, Venom, Hellhammer and Bathory; as well as its ultra-perverse South American chapter spearheaded by Sarcáfago, Vulcano, and earliest Sepultura. And with the flailing intensity of unspoiled thrash metal fueling their engines, sporadic highlights like "Violent Carnage," "Monumental Massacre," and the title cut truly fulfill their mission by wreaking absolute savagery and bloodlust upon unwary listeners. When all is said and done, The Ultimate Death doesn't quite live up to its title in terms of imagination or consistency, in comparison with other pummeling Deathwitch releases, but it's arguable whether any of those comes any nearer to the crude essence of the band's existence.

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