The latest EP from French death metallers Slave One actually sounds more like blackened death, if you want me to be honest – and that’s actually a good thing. The same can be said about the band’s decision to record a cover of Dimmu Borgir‘s “Blessings Upon The Throne Of Tyranny” which definitely helped to cement their evolution. The press info equated the act to Death and Cynic which I can discern from the promo itself, but there’s definitely a good hunk of black metal here and mixed in with the death and prog shenanigans; it is safe to say that this performance greatly appealed to my ears.
Starting off with “Tunguska” we’re introduced to some rather odd background melodies, which entail a little bit of technicality in addition to frighteningly thick vocals and machine-gun drums. They even opted for a solo here, which then suddenly rolls right into a bit of oriental folk. Clearly these guys are on the experimental side of the spectrum, even if the guitar melodies can sound a little electronic for some reason (I can’t seem to figure out what the reasoning behind that is). As you might confer, Slave One are kind of a kitchen sink act, but at least they’ve kept it consistent. My ears are actually quite pleased and I find that I’m largely entertained by the product as a whole. The next cut, “Through Illuminated Void and Meditative Resonance” takes a slightly different approach, though it remains just as excitingly technical as the prior. I’m almost feeling a sort of desert vibe, maybe Egyptian or Sumerian in the rhythms here. Then the piece enters into atmosphere wherein a ritual silence is observed. Obvious Behemoth/Hate influences are recognized, but I definitely feel that Slave One are in a league of their own here and wouldn’t dare say that they “sound just like Behemoth.” There’s just so much flowing technicality here that Slave One appear to create their own beast, fronting it heavily with memorable giuitar solos as well. Maybe it is a little Nile, especially in this piece – but again, I don’t feel that it is right to compare these guys to anyone other than themselves. Any seasoned metal listener can point out the influences, but it’s how they’re used that make this band really stand out. Moving on, we have the last original cut on the disc titled “Uroboric.” It actually encapsulates a tiny melodic rock lead, which we wouldn’t expect with the fierce drums and equally furious vocals. The track also features a little Cynic-ism here and there, as the guys look for a way to really show off their skills within the blackened/death package. I don’t mind that, as it’s been common for the whole album and I think it would shave off their idenity if they ever dropped it in future recordings. They’re not just another blackened/tech-death act, and you can hear that fairly early on.
The bonus track is obviously a Dimmu Borgir cover as I explained earlier. This cover seems to sit more with the blackened/death of the previous three cuts, focusing heavily on the death metal. It even seems like they’ve changed the tremolos a little bit. In the end, I feel that there’s a massive amount of promise on this EP and would definitely recommend that fans of technical blackened/death metal check it out. I’m quite pleased and looking forward to what they’ll do next.
(4 Tracks, 24:00)