Memoriam – For the Fallen (Released March 24, 2017 – Nuclear Blast Records)
Rising from the ashes of Bolt Thrower like a crippled phoenix Memoriam attempt to pay homage to the late Martin Kearns but come up short. Channeling a similar style of crushing death metal as the late Bolt Thrower, Karl Willets and co. fail to deliver on For the Fallen. Plodding at its worst and cavernous punk at its most upbeat For the Fallen is a sludgy and doomy mess of repetitive riffs, pinches, and slowly spewed gruff vocals.
The album starts off well enough with the quick Memoriam. Atmosphere setting the track previews the entire album with its guitars down tuned to the depths of Hades and pinch harmonics which rear their heads at interesting moments. Among the good is also the bad as, even on a sub 3-minute song, the looped riffs and simplistic drums are clear. War Rages On continues the pummeling with similar riffs and beats as the opening track and that was about where I began to tire. A slow intro greets at the outset of Reduced to Zero and the track never picked up from there. Heavy palm muted riffs, pinches, and a slow spew of vocals made it feel like the track lasted forever. The punk came into disquieting focus on Corrupted System as the album picked back up but again, nothing happened as the track was chock full of simple up and down runs for riffs and a monotonous drum pattern. Flatline was one of the better tracks on the album… but that could have also been because it followed up the two most disappointing tracks. Surrounded By Death and Resistance were enjoyable in their brevity. The riffs were crushing and likely mosh inducing while the quick radio outtakes on Resistance were a nice break as were the quick squealy solos both tracks used to lighten the oppressive atmosphere. For the Fallen closed with Last Words (of course) and by this time I was starting to type up the review and had lost most interest in the album. The break aways to gunfire were interesting but, it was a murky mess like the other tracks.
This was a tough review to write. The brief snippets I heard before giving the album a shot were devastatingly heavy and exciting but, when the entire album was taken together, that heaviness failed to offset the repetitive riffs and snore inducing drums and vocals.