By now a stalwart of the German Death Metal scene, Deathrite have, on the outside at least, been quietly plugging away under the radar, building a solid back catalogue and a strong reputation. Certainly, the name has cropped up more in 2018, both by signing to Century Media and with some high profile support slots, such as recently with Skeletonwitch. With this heightened attention, perhaps the expected thing to do would be to cement themselves and continue their formula up to this point, so it is surprising and a little bold to see them instead take some experimental steps; whether they be hit or miss.
Latest album Nightmares Reign (Century Media) isn’t that much of a bold departure from previous, but it certainly does enough to stand out from its catalogue. The old school Death Metal presence is virtually unaltered, with a bolstered production that has plenty of grit and dirt under its nails. For the most part, this is straightforward and goes straight for the jugular. This time around, though, Deathrite are unafraid of dropping pace and implementing more haunting melodies and atmospherics in their sound, which adds an extra dynamic at times, though this is clearly a band that is at its best when they have their foot firmly down on the pedal.
Where the album, sadly, falters is when the band are out of their comfort zone, mainly in attempting longer, drawn-out songs, with both ‘Demon Soul’ and ‘Temptation Calls’ breaking past their usual three to four-minute thresholds. ‘Demon Soul’ doesn’t suffer as much, and breaks pace with a striking, gloomy passage; its longer counterpart however, unfortunately, finishes the album on a damp squib, feeling unnecessarily lengthy and without sufficient well-placed ideas or great moments to hold attention.
Bands often avoid change and evolution in favour of safer routes, so a band like Deathrite who, have shown they feel the need for fresh takes, is to be celebrated, even if such moments are the album’s weaker points. Nightmare Reigns is a flawed piece but it still packs a weighty punch in its mix without a doubt, and its experimental side does make sense to continue with, though unfortunately is execution isn’t quite on the mark this time.
6 / 10