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Melodic death metal band, Without Past is absolutely incredible. I can’t believe how much ass this music actually kicks. It blows most American Metal music out of the water. This could very well be my favorite underground death metal album of the year so far. I can’t stop listening to it. The project made up of instrumentalist Daryll Smith, from Birmingham England, and vocalist Slava Antonenko, based in Russia, deliver a diverse blend of old and new metal styles and everything in between.

I can listen to their debut album “Alkaline Hydrolysis”, straight through without skipping any track. Every instrument is loaded with dynamite and crystal clear. Slava’s vocals, between harsh growling and melodic singing, sounds amazing. This guy is the only harsh sounding singer I can take for more than two songs in a row. He has enough variation and range that fits perfectly with the guitar motifs pushing the backdrop.

From the opening track, “Dominus Tenebris”, you know exactly what you’re going to get. And with this band you are always going to get that: explosive heavy metal with soaring guitars, anthemic choruses and pounding drums.

Without Past are a band designed to make you rock hard and head-bang harder. And just to make sure you got the message loud and clear, the first time around, the subsequent track, “Black Tar Seduction”, leaves you no respite, with walls of bone-crushing guitar riffs from Daryll, and Slava showing off his entire toolkit.

“Alkaline Hydrolysis” has a great sense of flow, the songs all seem like natural progressions from each other, giving the album a great sense of flow and coherence. On “In Here I’ll Die”, Slava’s magnificent roar and the mythical lyrics combine to give us a flawless slab of warrior anthems to stir the soul.

“Adverse Collision” is raw and dark, reflecting origins in straight-ahead death metal. Without Past’s sound solidifies the genre’s core elements: insane riffs, driving rhythms, and the vocals which somehow are deeply expressive.

“Hell Whore” doesn’t simple refine these aforementioned elements, but it tunes it up noticeably. The driving pulse here is furiously convulsive. The title track “Alkaline Hydrolysis” runs on a machine-gun drumbeat and full firing guitar riffs from Daryll, while Slava vocals create an aggressive atmosphere. “Palace of the Nether” is an absolute guitar fest giving equal time to both an undeniable galloping groove and the rough-hewn vocals.

The faster songs, like “Space-Time Continuum” and “Shrines and Stipulation”, with more urgent riffing and runaway rhythms, work the best, creating stirring moods and rallying the hordes.

The album’s approach is deceptively straightforward, and in that sneaky simplicity lies an accessibility that many of Without Past’s peers and colleagues can’t quite equal. It’s catchy, it’s credible, and it sounds huge. Daryll and Slava forge all of that beguiling formula into the three minutes of “The Pulse”.

The entire “Alkaline Hydrolysis” album cruises along confidently, with nary a minute wasted. Sharply mixed enough, to have those insidious guitar lines and layers prominent, the rhythm riffs and drums sound positively monolithic, and everything makes perfect accompaniment for the distinct vocals interpretations. If you decide to buy one death metal album this year, make this the one. You will not be sorry you did.

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By staff

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