If you enjoy good solid death metal, then this will definitely be of interest to you. The first thing about this release that lunged out at me was the quality of product, just in terms of design/packaging, diligence of performance/tracking, and overall production. It was of no surprise to me to learn that the boys had sourced a little outside help in the final product, the EP having been mixed and mastered by none other than David Castillo (well known for similar work on bands such as Bloodbath and Katatonia.) Every instrument in the mix holds it’s own ground with good tone and is perfectly audible throughout, thus avoiding the terrible fate suffered by many South African bands where the recordings seldom manage to fight clear of being audio frequency mulch. The real win for me is in the vocals! Good consistency throughout, without descending into monotony.
As for the songwriting, each one seems well enough crafted to hold it’s own in some way or another, although I personally felt that the EP really came into it’s full excellence at tracks four and five.
Starting off on a monster note with “The Smouldering Remains”, which blends up so many elements of good straight-up death metal, including interesting riffs and one hell of a hook after the first chorus.
Despite a promising intro into track two, “Medical Miscarriage”, the song lost it a little bit for me, becoming somewhat repetitive after an early climax. It was nice to hear a lead solo within barely a minute into the 6 minute track, but made for a bit of a tease when not revisited. I enjoyed the “doomier” moments, particularly near the end, but then it leaped back into the jumpy intro theme. Ending it right there instead would have made the song for me.
Track three is an uber-fast-slow-fast headbanging anthem titled “Ancient Servant”, and offers another riveting lead solo (which I’d been longing for since the track two teaser.)
Now here is where the EP took my breath away: Tracks four & five, “Reaching For the Dark” and “Already Dead”. Both tracks reflect heavily into the bands more Scandinavian influences, which sounded to me a little more lively and memorable than the rest of the EP. In my view, the band has taken the classic Gothenburg sound here and totally owned it! Undoubtedly, some of the nay-sayers will slam these tracks for not being original enough or something along those lines, but you cannot deny a great fucking song when you hear it and A Walk With the Wicked offer two right here. I can say no more that your ears won’t tell you for themselves.
The final track, “Architects of Sadism”, slumps back into the same sound and flow as the opening three, almost as if to bring the EP full circle. Not a bad track, but after the sensational two tracks preceding it, it left me wanting something a little more. Maybe one last shred on the lead would have done the trick!
One thing that is certain from my side though, is that this is one hell of a band that has the potential to go places. Of course, they will have to break out of the geographical shackles that hold so many South African bands down, but they have created an excellent showcase of their abilities with this debut EP. I’m really looking forward to the next release.
Architects of Sadism is available for streaming and digital purchase at Bandcamp and physical copies and be purchased through the band, worldwide!
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