On one hand Degial for sure continue the way they started with “Death’s Striking Wings”. Death Metal, but not for the faint of heart. No cheese melodies, no nice grooves, no structures adapted from pop-music. It began with a lot of attitude, heavily influenced by the early days of Morbid Angel. Now it takes another step to the next level.
“Predator Reign” is harsh, vile and baneful. It is hectic, almost chaotic. It is un-catchy yet still somehow familiar. First of all, Degial created their trademark sound. They are not longer a darker and more honest version of Morbid Angel. They found their very own style. Based on Morbid Angel during “Altars Of Madness” and “Blessed Are The Sick”. Enriched by those ideas they share with Vorum or Beyond. Brought to perfection with the spirit and attitude of bands like early Necrophobic and Watain.
But that’s not the only reason many songs on “Predator Reign” soon sound familiar. Okay, there are some hummingbird-riffs that follow a similar pattern throughout the whole album. But that’s not the point. The secret are many small details. Harmonies, breaks, slight melodies. Obscure changes in groove and rhythm. Mostly subtle, not always memorable in the first place. But after the seconds spin of this album, you will recognise the individual songs. They sound familiar and well-known. Without any cheesy refrains, uber-catchy melodies or dull song structures. They have a profile, deep in a vile, chaotic and harsh atmosphere. I think that is pretty impressive. And of course there are many awesome riffs that stand for for own, telling their very own stories aside from the lyrics.
But beside those intelligent little aspects within the individual songs, there is the larger image. The album “Predator Reign”. And this seems coherent, like one consistent piece of music. Maybe because some bumblebee-riffs using the same pattern over and over again. But I think it is more because of the dense atmosphere. It is a baneful album. It is full of tension. Honest aggression, erupting in almost chaotic beats and structures. But always without loosing the attitude that gives Degial their own profile.
With those main ingredients, remarkable details and pure unfiltered evil spirit, there are a lot of incredibly good songs on this album. But for me “Thousand Spears Impale”, which was used for a video-clip, is just among the average of “Predator Reign”. “The Savage Covenant”, “Devil Spawn”, “Heretical Repugnance” or “Triumphant Extinction” are way more outstanding tracks that illustrate both the fire and the obscure catchyness that form the individual style of Degial.
Maybe “Predator Reign” is not the most easy-listening album by the band. But with all layers of chaos, darkness and playful details, it is surely the most mature. And of course the one with the most individual identity.