Nearly four years after 2013’s Requiem For Us All, Italian Death Metal/Deathcore band THE MODERN AGE SLAVERY return with Stygian (out now, Innerstrength Records). I had never heard this band before the promo landed in my lap, but when I sat with it there was something I immediately liked about them. There is an energy, an almost primal feeling one gets from these songs. Plus, the record is not too breakdown-heavy, which I love whenever anything Deathcore is involved. After an intro things begin in earnest with “The Reprisal Within” a statement track that not only contains massive amounts of attitude, there is one mother of a guitar solo in there.
“Miles Apart” keeps it moving while having some really cool synth elements behind the main melody. It’s haunting and it works. Meanwhile the band simply goes ballistic for the majority of the song. I wasn’t too sure how to feel about “The Theory of Shadows’ when I first heard it; not sure why, something seemed off and a bit jarring. But after a few more listens I can honestly say it’s not a bad song. On the other hand, there are much better compositions on this disc than that particular number. Now “The Place We Call Home” is one I can get behind and also one of the album’s best cuts. The guitars scrape like a blade over flesh, and the drumming is superb.
Moving along, “A Stygian Tide” is another surefire winner. The whole song has this dark and sinister quality to it, something that always draws me right in. I also found “The Hollow Men” to have the vibe of a blood-caked slimy creature with razor-sharp teeth crawling out of a pit, hell bent on eating you alive. The riff on “Regression Through Unlearning” is 100% badass, and this tune will kick you in the balls so hard you’ll be coughing them up later. Good job, fellas! However, the record ends on a not-so-great note, as the band chose to end things with a PANTERA cover. It’s no secret how much I hate that band, so this was a major downer for me. Well that, and the use of an album intro (oy).
But all told this is a pretty good effort from a band I knew nothing about until a few months ago. When they get it right the songs come together remarkably well. I think there are a lot of good things to be found here. If they can just focus on those qualities, and avoid the covers for now, then the sky’s probably the limit. In the meantime you can check out THE MODERN AGE SLAVERY with the video clip below, and pick up their new album Stygian wherever you buy your music today.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Place We Call Home”, “A Stygian Tide”, “The Reprisal Within”