New Zealand extreme metal band, Diocletian, have released a new album called Amongst the Flames of a Burning God.
It dropped on the 16th of August, through Profound Lore Records and marks the return of a band who called it quits in 2015. They originally formed in 2004 and released a handful of EPs, splits and demos as well as three full length studio albums. The last of those being 2014’s Gesundrian. Released a year before the band decided to part ways. The band were dormant for just two years when vocalist, Brendan Southwell (Atrociter), reformed the band with a brand new line up. That brings us nicely to Amongst the Flames of a Burning God. The first album of the new version of Diocletian.
Amongst the Flames of a Burning God is 8 tracks and around 27 minutes long and is a dark, fuzzy metal album full of fire and grit. It only takes a few seconds if opener, Nuclear Wolves for you to have a firm idea of what is to come. A banging drum beat is joined by a squealing guitar note. Gravelly vocals join in before the riff and bass turn into a violent writhing beast of distortion and fuzz. The sounds are so raw, so muddy that they all occasionally blend together for a more precise attack on your senses. It will almost be a little too messy if it wasn’t for occasional breaks that leave the guitars or drums to ring clearer. In these moments you pick out the excellent riffs and rhythms being used to create the assault and it makes the more extreme moments easier to follow.
The whole album comes at a breath-taking pace with little to no room for respite. Each song forms a mental battering ram and comes at you full force. The more you listen though, the more you pick up the clever little riffs and beats hidden beneath the surface. Degenerate Swarm hits hard with a slower groove separating the more vicious verses and has some excellent black metal vocals with loads of backing. Berserker Rites has a brilliant slowed down doom section full of drawn out guitars and drum blasts. It’s brilliant. The brutal, Procreate Strength, has a fantastic solo surrounded by pure insanity.
Plundered by Hyenas has the same. A wicked solo that then ends into a bass heavy slowed down riff that is bound to get heads banging just before chaos erupts. Album closer, Restart Civilization starts with a little melody and big booming drums that basically lulls you into a false sense of security before coming at you hard and fast with an explosion of furious metal.
The whole album really is a fast and violent assault on the senses that barely stops for breath. It’s heavy and littered with cool moments like a sudden slow down or a solo or a bass line. All small things that make the songs exciting but also break up the extremity and allow you to enjoy the music. When it does go full on attack, which is regularly, the production sounds terrible. I imagine it is designed to. You know, make it sound like you are in a cupboard or a garage or whatever but it is a bit too fuzzy, a bit too distorted in places creating a load of noise rather than music. It’s even more annoying because of the moments where the music is clear. You want more of it and instead often lose it behind a wall of fuzziness.
It would be a shame to leave on a negative though as it really is a very good album. Amongst the Flames of a Burning God is fast and hard hitting with a raw energy that leaves you breathless. Moments of intricate soloing or riffwork almost contradicts the crushing brutality of the rest of the album making for an exciting listen. A little less fuzz would be welcome but otherwise, solid stuff.
Amongst the Flames of a Burning God by Diocletian (Profound Lore)
The Final Score - 7.5/10