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4.5 out of 5 skulls

Tyrants Blood Into the Kingdom of Graves

I always assumed that Canadians were nice and polite, but after listening to Tyrants Blood‘s latest full-length, I’m starting to think that they aren’t really all that congenial at all. The blackened death metal found within Into the Kingdom of Graves is fucking mean as hell, man — like kick your mom in the vagina sort of mean.

With a raw, grating production to fuel the band’s brand of mayhem, the ten tracks here are as abrasive and caustic as anything available right now. Swirling, ever-shifting tempos, roiling basslines, off-kilter guitar work and Brian “Messiah” Langley’s nearly smothered, guttural growls bury you in layers of extremity. There’s nothing smooth or groove oriented about anything on this album. These guys relish complexity, bathe in obscure rhythms and embrace the lord of chaos — all in order to leave you a quivering, gelatinous puddle of your former self.

Right from the start — well shortly after the atmospheric intro — of “Spiral Sea,” you know that you’re in for a challenging listening experience. The music that rockets out of the stereo swirls endlessly and without direction, encompassing you within a shroud of chaos and disorder. At times, the track even feels random and yet cohesive at the same time. It makes for an interesting dynamic and one that I still haven’t fully translated in my own neanderthal-like brain.

It’s not all chaos, all the time with Into the Kingdom of Graves though. Yes, it’s a driving force of every song, but the guys are wise to not fixate too much on disorder. “Revelation in Damnation,” for example is a much more technical song that is unrelenting in its direction, but you can at least tell there is a direction. Tyrants Blood continue to jump from tempo to tempo, but with this song it doesn’t feel as scattered as much of the album.

Amongst the chaos is another unifying theme — speed. There is nothing slow or methodical about anything on this album. It’s full-throttle from beginning to end. The absolutely scorching “Destroyer” is a prime example of that. As are, slow-to-start “Fragments of a Dying World” and bonkers title track that closes out a stellar release.

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