Right ear: growl. Left ear: growl. STEREO ROAR!
What a fun way to open a death metal album.
With their slightly disturbing artwork and morbid lyrics, Deus Otiosus (it’s Latin for idle god) may want you think they are sinister death dealers but believe me, the Danes’ debut album Murderer is just pure larks!
Of course this does hinge on your idea of fun. If, dear reader, you have navigated here from my Lana Del Rey post then you may end up wearing an upside down smile.
Awwww, sorry. Would you like me to wipe that blood from your ears? Here’s a picture of a kitten.
Everyone else: if you love cheeky, chuggy thrash riffs with a death metal flavour (or is that death metal riffs with a thrash flavour, hmmm?) propelled by devilish drumming and gruff growling then you my son are in for a treat.
But it’s not just that I happen to personally like the sounds Deus Otiosus conjure from their instruments.
There is an enthusiasm here that is infectious. I get the feeling that even though they are trying to be mean and serious, they are having shitloads of fun too.
Unlike so many leaden, one-paced thrash-inflected acts, Deus Otiosus are light on their feet and can shift from blast to gallop via playful drumrolls with ease or from headlong charge to queasy crawl and back to tremolo-picked squall without missing a beat.
The tempo shifts feel really natural, such as in the final 30 seconds of Thousand Arms of the Dead, which becomes almost mournful after a full-on aggressive riff-fest.
Much as I love Sunlight guitar tone worship, these Danish death-dealers eschew the rusty buzzsaw tone for more of a Teutonic thrash sound. I don’t even think they are detuned and- shock, horror – the production is polished rather than caked in filth.
I haven’t even mentioned the vocals.
Anders Bo Rasmussen’s growls and gurgles are pure death metal and do the heavy lifting when it comes to providing the dark atmosphere.
They provide a perfect counterpoint to the catchy and often quite upbeat riffs, drums and squealy solos that spiral and divebomb.
And like all my favourite metal, this has plenty of swing – the band let their riffs breathe, causing my head to frequently bang.
OK, so it may not smash any genre boundaries but Deus Otiosus bravely sail against the prevailing death metal wind and deliver a very enjoyable debut full of memorable, well-crafted songs.
Have a listen: