Monday, March 28, 2011

Feral - Dragged To The Altar

Dragged To The Altar
Ibex Moon Records

Initially starting out as a parody act (When the band were known simply as Valmer & Hook), Swedish outfit Feral have slowly taken on a more serious tone with their eventual change of name, and soon started to shed their black/death metal sound to take on a more death ‘n’ roll influenced direction.
Having laid down several demos, and touring throughout Europe as support to long running death metal legends Master, it wasn’t long before the five piece act (Comprising of vocalist Hook, guitarists Svarte Petter and Markus ‘Big Mac’ Lindahl, bassist Valmer and drummer Damien) were picked up by Ibex Moon Records, who have duly released the band’s debut full-length effort ‘Dragged To The Altar’.
Hailing from Sweden, and playing death ‘n’ roll, the first impression that springs to my mind prior to hearing a thing from Feral is the almighty Entombed. And sure enough, once you hit play and the band launch into the opening track ‘Once Inside The Tomb’, there’s no denying the comparisons between the two acts. But while Feral bear a striking similarity to Entombed, there’s enough subtle differences to distinguish the two from one another. Hook’s vocals are deeper and more bodied sounding than those of L-G
Petrov, while the overall production is a little cleaner than anything Entombed produced back in the day, without sounding too sterilised or removed from what many would consider the death ‘n’ roll sound represents.
The up-tempo ‘Altar Of Necromancy’ (Which originally appeared on Soulseller Records’ 2009 compilation ‘Resurrected In Festering Slime’), the slower paced ‘Judas’ and ‘Welcome To The Graveyard’ (Which the band filmed a promotional video clip for) are early favourites on the first half of the album, and demonstrate the band’s ability to provide plenty of variation on the album, while the trio of faster paced tracks in ‘The Curse Of The Casket’, ‘Behead The Crucifix’ and ‘Malevolent Summoning’ help ensure the band finish the album off in a truly killing manner.
If you’re looking for Feral to bring something new to the table, then you’ll most likely be disappointed with what’s on offer. But in terms of capturing the classic death ‘n’ roll sound of the past, ‘Dragged To The Altar’ is a true homage to the greats, and an overall grooving death ‘n’ roll blast from start to finish.

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© Justin Donnelly