Style: Death Metal
Release Date: 29 May 2020
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Here's another old school death metal band who were formed around the point where I was getting bored of old school death metal. They're Centinex, from Sweden and they had what looks like an impressive run from 1990 to 2006, at which point they split up. With eight albums behind them, they reformed in 2014 and have added three more since. On the basis of this one, I'm a fan but...
To be fair, the present Centinex isn't remotely the original Centinex. Bass player Martin Schulman seems to be the heart of the band; he's not just the only original member, continuing with them throughout, he's the only member who's been in the band more than about five minutes. Drummer Florian Rehn is the new fish, having only joined this year, while vocalist Henrik Andersson and guitarist Jörgen Kristensen came on board last year.
While I doubt there's a heck of a lot of past consistency when Andersson is the band's seventh lead singer and Kristensen the seventh lead guitarist, I like the current sound and, for right now, that's all that matters.
They get right down to business, each of the eleven songs on offer a short, sharp shock. Not one of them exceeds four minutes and five clock in at under three, but the style really suits that length. It's lively death: up tempo but never full speed, dark but never outrageously downtuned, deep and growly but never so far to strip Andersson of the ability to intonate. It's heavy anyway and it's even heavier because of an excellent mix.
There isn't much space in this sound for intros or outros or much in the way of dynamic play. I could call Pieces a song featuring a rare intro for this album, but, to be brutally honest, it's nothing more than an intro. Sure, it happens to be a really good one but, by the time it's ready to kick into top gear, it's over and we're into Cauterized, which happens to be a relentless highlight. Centinex just knuckle right down and deliver the goods, over and over again.
What that means is that, while I like this a lot, I'd probably only like it a lot in certain circumstances. For instance, each time I've thrown this on for a listen, it's been after something completely different: prog rock and garage rock, nothing extreme. This worked well as a counter and I enjoyed an hour or so each time of being hammered into submission by listening through a couple of times. I think I'd dig this band as a reliable top support band live, focusing in after all the local guys that had gone before and getting us firmly in the mood for the headliner.
However, I don't ever think I'd throw the Centinex back catalogue on loop as I'd probably get bored pretty quickly. I'd love to listen to the band's next album but I probably won't throw this one on again. They're tight enough and consistent enough to kill live but, if the band in the top support slot did anything unusual at all, they'd probably be the one I'd leave reflecting on rather than this bigger name band at the top of the bill.
And that lack of variety is why I'm dropping this down to 6/10. I enjoyed it a great deal but, outside of perhaps the chorus in Cauterized and the core riff in Sacrifice, if you asked me for the best track or my favourite song or any other moment for special mention, I'd have to ask you to pick a card, any card. They're all simultaneously the best and the worst, because they're interchangeable and whether you see that as a good thing or not will shape your appreciation of the band and this album. If you're a Centinex fan, add at least one point back on.