Vengeance Ascending

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Diabolic has exceeded the expectations set forth by its somewhat generic band name and album title by putting together a surprisingly good death metal album here. First off, these guys are excellent musicians: drummer Aantar Coates practically devours his drum set, and the guitar solos show some real imagination to go along with the lightning-speed technique. But, just as importantly, they know how to put together solid riffs and songs, as well as how to create a suitably evil vibe to go along with their satanic-themed lyrics. (Much of this has to do with how well the guitars are recorded, as they have a slight reverberant echo that adds a lot to the ambience.) The vocals are also worth noting, being more wide-ranging and generally expressive than the death metal norm. Sure, traces of Obituary (vocally) and Morbid Angel (musically) are on hand, but while Diabolic may not be totally rewriting music history, the band has put together a convincing and fresh-sounding death metal album in the year 2001, and that in itself is a feat.

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