In the early to mid-nineties a particular form of Death Metal emerged. Pioneered by Carcass in the UK, and At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames in Sweden, this more melodic style of deathened music was crowned the Gothenburg Metal Scene. Through the advent of the information age, the predominantly Scandinavian style found itself a global influence on the world of underground Metal, and in this school of thought we find fledgling UK act Climate of Fear.
From the very title of the album, we can find clear reverence for the Gothenburg scene. The Onset of Eternal Darkness (Demons Run Amok) as a phrase is not dissimilar to verbose monikers such as To Drink From The Night Itself (Century Media), and this similarity extends to the musicianship on offer.
‘Rapture’ opens the album with a soft yet sinister piano playing out a lithe introductory riff. As the whole band kicks in, the vocals are immediately reminiscent of Thomas Lindberg, having the same enticing strain of effort in their guttural delivery. They perfectly accent the musicianship that hammers away underneath.
Instrumentally the album is as intricate and deft as any Melodic Death Metal album is wont to be. ‘The Cult Of Retribution’ begins with a snaking, wiry motif before launching into a destructive rolling riff. The song ebbs and flows between high velocity and slow breakdowns with aggressively inspirational mosh calls.
The manner with which the band handles their tempo changes is laudable. There’s never a beat skipped or a moment of awkward readjustment for the listener. This is most apparent on ‘Centuries Of Torment’ which once again nimbly twists and turns between moments of Melodeath and beatdown Slam Hardcore.
There are moments on this album that get the blood pumping to artery bursting levels. The dual guitar riff in ‘Storming The Heavens’ followed piercing pinch harmonics is enough to get fists clenched ready to be swung in devil may care fashion. Every breakdown on this album is more exciting than so many bands manage; rather than a single note chugged out and palm muted lazily to create a false sub-drop effect, there is musicality to the riffs that Climate of Fear weave throughout their punishing music.
A lyrical narrative that is staunchly anti-capitalist and environmentally conscious, this is heavy music for thinking people. There is an element of Napalm Death to the album’s subject matter – beyond the nod given by naming a song ‘From Enslavement To Extinction’ – and a whole host of brutally blunt lyricism to dissect, each line having its own charming anti-establishment flair. The album doesn’t sit still and veers through a host of influences that it displays proudly, moving adeptly across sub-genre boundaries: this iis aggressive, intellectual music and is borderline outstanding.
8 / 10