Memoriam Requiem for Mankind (Nuclear Blast) is Memoriam’s third album in as many years. The first album For the Fallen was great if a bit slow, punchy drums, thick guitar tones wrapped up with some nice production. The follow-up to The Silent Vigil was personally somewhat disappointing, a lot faster and more aggressive songwriting, which is always welcome, but it failed to capitalise on the excellent ideas with a quite thin production.
Opening with ‘Shellshock’ driven relentless by the pounding rhythm section of Andy Whale and Frank Healy, and chugging riffs of Scott Fairfax, the first impressions are pretty bloody good. Memoriam seem to have gone for a mix of their two previous, the more aggressive songwriting of Silent vigil, but with production more comparable to For the Fallen. Indeed, a vastly superior mix and production courtesy of the legend that is Russ Russell at The Parlour, which really packs a punch.
‘Undefeated’ has a bit more of a punkier feel to it. A huge Old School Death Metal feel to it, not the 300bpm minimum of most modern Death Metal but still damn quick, and pretty anthemic chorus.
‘Never The Victim’ is a slightly slower, nicely paced respite, without much deviation from the formula of war, war, and more war. It’s good but the next track ‘Austerity Kills’ is fucking amazing! Whilst the UK continues to suffer from the effects of nearly a decade of Tory Austerity, whilst pathetic leadership contenders each try to outdo each other in trying to prove that there might be some sort of shred of humanity left in their soulless fucking husks, Karl Willetts hits the nail on the head his growls effortlessly dripping scorn and venom throughout Austerity Kills, fuck the Tories. A different type of war reference than the rest of the album, an ideological war against the poor and disabled, Cuts of a butcher’s knife, it drives its point home all the harder for the fact we’re living in it right now. Once again for those at the back Fuck the Tories! Best track of the album by far, this needs to be played at many a protest around the UK.
The next few tracks ‘In The Midst Of Desolation’, ‘Refuse To Be led’ and ‘The Veteran’ are, in the main, slower tracks somewhat give a good contrast. Nothing much to get the heart pounding, but plenty to get the head nodding. Some decent shredding licks and a decent tempo pace to them but clumped together so closely they do tend to lose a bit of the momentum which had built up earlier.
‘Requiem for Mankind’ brings things back up do a decent speed again, has a whiff of blackened riffing: a very pleasing track. As is ‘Fixed Bayonets’ which has plenty of variation and a damn good pace to it. Last track ‘Interment’ is a little confusing as it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the album, not a bad track, indeed excellently executed, but it seems more of an album intro than and outro.
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed this. Almost certainly their best album so far. Sure there’s a bit of a lull in the middle which can be difficult to engage with on repeated listens, but when it’s working well it’s really working well. It’s clear they’ve taken the more aggressive song structure from the silent vigil and returned to the better production standards of for the fallen to produce an effective hybrid of the two.
One thing, however, needs to be said, having read some of the other reviews for the album, they all seem to try to compare this to Bolt Thrower. Bolt Thrower was somewhat ‘A perfect storm’ of a band and comparing these two together even after three albums is pretty much pointless, Memoriam are what they are, and what they are is bloody good indeed, and Requiem is probably their finest hour so far.
8 / 10