CD review STRIGOI ‘Abandon All Faith’

It was in 2018 when Paradise Lost guitarist Greg Mackintosh stopped with his side project Vallenfyre after eight successful years. What started as an outlet for grief and as tribute to his father, who passed away in 2009, slowly shifted towards a wider perspective with Mackintosh’s viewpoint on the current world.

Having stopped with Vallenfyre allowed Mackintosh to start with Strigoi a new project, named after troubled spirits in the Romanian mythology. The guitarist, together with bassplayer Chris Casket and drummer Waltteri  Väyrynen (just for the album), recorded with ‘Abandon All faith’ a debut that is spot-on. Extreme Metal is what you can expect and is also what you get. It’s useless to compare Vallenfyre with Strigoi since it’s two different bands, although sharing same musical roots. The new project is more Death Metal-based with a slight Grindcore blast and a Punk vibe.

Starting point of ‘Abandon All Faith’ is the oppressive intro ‚The Rising Horde‘. You can sense right away that what comes with this horde isn‘t something friendly and bright. Instead it‘s a dark and deadly beast that rises with ‚Phantoms‘, being the first track that it spits out. This tune is an excellent way to get into the album, since it represents what can be expected in a good fashion. Strigoi plays fast and furious but varies tempo quite often. ‘Phantoms’ is a good example with its slow riffs and fast outbreaks. The following ‘Nocturnal Vermin’ brings this interplay even clearer to the forefront. Slow and evil riffing changes by the snap of your finger into a raging Death Metal hymn that feel like a smash in the face.

Strigoi isn’t solely about long musical excursions. Mackintosh and band mate(s) partly doesn’t need even more than two minutes to tell the story. ‘Throne of Disgrace’ is such a blast and interesting enough, the next track is the opposite. ‘Carved into the Skin’, the firstbtrack written for the album, is with six minutes a counterpart to the previous smasher. Some Paradise Lost guitar melodies are a part of this riff monster that starts almost as a Funeral Doom track. Heavyweight guitars and vocals, full of despair, introduces you to a track that shows how much intensity a slow-mo Death Metal can spread. It’s not always about speed.

‘Iniquitous Rage’ is more straight-forward. Being rooted in British Death Metal the song, with its headbanging potential, is a perfect neck-challenger.

The final spot on the album’s tracklist goesto the title track, being the glorious ending. Again kept in deep-minor the passion for Doom Metal becomes obvious. Heavily down-tuned guitars create an evil atmosphere. This song’s a riff monster that slowly crawls out of the moisty soil, aiming for your heart and soul. And it gets what it seeks for. It’s the fascination of evil that’s perfectly interpreted in this song. Whatever comes to your mind when thinking about ‘Abandon All Faith’, this song reflects it.

After having put Vallenfyre to sleep, Mackintosh created a next Death Metal beast that’s aiming for fans of Extreme Metal, done with filigree and brutality. Strigoi proves that both words are no contradiction and can be combined, leading to something greater than just repeating an old success formula.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. The Rising Horde
  2. Phantoms
  3. Nocturnal Vermin
  4. Seven Crowns
  5. Throne Of Disgrace
  6. Carved Into The Skin
  7. Parasite
  8. Iniquitous Rage
  9. Plague Nation
  10. Enemies Of God
  11. Scorn Of The Father
  12. Abandon All Faith

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Death Metal

Release Date EU: November 22nd, 2019

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