January 21, 2023

You know that place called “West Midlands”, right? It gave us Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Benediction, Bolt Thrower and who knows how many more fantastic bands. Memoriam, born in the aftermath of Bolt Thrower in 2015, is one more proof “there’s something in the water” in this place in England and with their fifth full length coming up on February 3rd, they are stronger than ever. Rise To Power comes almost two years after To The End and, inevitably, is an album born out of the frustration from both the pandemic and the recent war in Ukraine. Karl Willets’ lyrics, although following the concept he once started in the self-titled debut, are also touching heavily on real-time events such as the Holocaust and the horrors of a war in Europe in 2022 – something which is still hard to assimilate and will always be.

If you’ve followed Memoriam closely, then you should know that this is not a Bolt Thrower copy in any way, even though we still have the war and tragedy-obsessed lyrics and the inimitable growl of Willets. What differs Memoriam most is their love of old school hardcore and crust punk and their obvious desire to minimize the number guitar solos, even if (I will say it once again), Scott Fairfax is great at those. The power of the good riff and epic central melody is what drives all Memoriam albums and Rise To Power is no exception. We have some fantastic epic juggernauts once again, as the opening one-two salvo of Never Forget, Never Again (6 Million Dead) and Total War. Their ability to jump from one central riff into another, with sudden tempo-changes is also where the extremely talented rhythm section shines. After he replaced Andy Whale in 2020, Spikey Smith (ex-Sacrilege) added even more groove and crust-punk attitude with his style of drumming and Frank Healy destroys on bass as usual, to build the wall of sound we all love so much.

I Am The Enemy is a nice surprise, being a nod towards classic, Icon-era Paradise Lost, but what elevated this album from very good to excellent are the last two songs. The title track is the essence of the sound Memoriam have been excelling at for 8 years and the closing This Pain is probably among the most epic and majestic songs I’ve heard in death metal. The cover artwork, traditionally, is a stunning display of Dan Seagrave’s talent and a feast for the eyes, demanding to be proudly displayed on a t-shirt this next summer.

Memoriam did not surprise me, but only lived up once again to my very high expectations and have delivered, together with Obituary, a death metal masterclass at the very start of the New Year. Thank you, guys!

9/10


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You can order Rise To Power from HERE