[Cover artwork by Jon Zig]
When was the last time a death metal album ripped your head off and kicked it directly into the mouth of Hell? A true H-E double drumsticks version of Hell that finds a way to be real and, despite evidence to the contrary, is not what we humans are currently enduring right here and now on this earthly plane and may actually involve being cooked in boiling piss under the watchful and flaming eyes of spiny demons ecstatic about the prospect of castigating our flesh with poisonous whips for eternity. Considering how much new music gets thrown into our faces on a weekly basis, perhaps it hasn’t been all that long since a death metal album has attempted such a noble task. What sets Diabolizer apart, however, relates to the manner in which they rip heads off with the strength of 666 blood-boiling ghouls and then subsequently bicycle-kick said craniums into the fiery pits with the perfect bend to the projectile. His head is gone and GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL!
Even more crucial, however, is the fact that this collective very much understand and appreciate the certainty that in order to sell razored death metal such as this and really make it stick, you need to come at the listener with more riffs than a Trey Azagthoth pool party where BC Rich Ironbirds are required just to get in. Khalkedonian Death is soused with the sort of heated riff breakouts that will put the listener in a constant state of stop, drop and roll in hopes of dousing the flames, and all that tasty savagery is punctuated by oodles of fiendish leads that only adds fuel to the fire for the overall sense of devilry throughout.
A song like “Maelstroms of Abhorrence” establishes the overall framework perfectly: Kick things off with a bit of rolling thunder that acts as an initial beacon for the fiends wandering the perimeter of the pit (remember pits? It’s been a minute), slowly build the intensification, then spend the rest of the song bombarding hither and thither with powerful furnace blasts, brief bursts of sinister melody, and a conclusion that’s as savage as a medieval four-horse disruption.
While Khalkedonian Death’s governing objective is to be relentless with its force, the record does an admirable job of versatility with regard to pace; scattered amidst all the hurtling torpedos are a number very memorable and completely barbaric grooves, particularly with crushers such as “Cloaked in an Aura of Madness” and “Spearfuck the Throes of Treason.” And while the record’s intention certainly has little interest in reinventing any part of the wheel, it travels the “ferocious death metal” passage in ways that often feel more modern compared to their influences because Diablolizer is unafraid of fusing bits of present-day technical and brutal death metal to the tried and tested design. “Bringers of Khalkedonian Death,” for example, and the way it counters the rigidly murderous outset with a notably more sophisticated midsection that features impish riffing, playful bass (possibly fretless at one point) and some particularly snappy drumming.
No need to decorate the point any further: If you’re a death metal fan who appreciates the more ferocious and evil side of the spectrum put into motion by early Deicide and carried forward by the likes of Azarath, Atomic Aggressor and Dead Congregation, you’ll want to give Diabolizer your attention; Khalkedonian Death conjures an ideal manifestation of relentless savagery sans bullshit, and anyone interested in crushing life’s day-to-day mundaneness by submitting to 45-minutes of entangling barbarity would be a straight-up sucker for passing it up.