|Death Metal, Grindcore
April 18th, 2014
Release length: 37:40
The Last Defence was recorded, mixed and mastered by Jorg Uken at Soundlodge Studios to present a crisp sounding album that doesn’t let the digital quality hold it back in the slightest. Every aspect is levelled just right, allowing the bass guitar enough room to build a sturdy backbone without over asserting itself, and the click of the bass kick against the rest of the kit just about matches the guitars to hammer sturdy blast beats and complex patterns into your skull against riffs just short of being as soul crushing as the instrumental “Bellum Indicere” and it’s dismal environment. This high grade introduction sets the album up perfectly, bleeding into the short first assault “Exist to Destroy” seamlessly. The drums pound away with burdening riffs that carry an subtle melody in the oppressive Death Metal riffs that sound good at a lower volume, but demand it cranked high for maximum impact as the abrasive deeper shouting vocals pump extra enthusiasm into the already intense performance. And this is just the first two minutes and forty-one seconds.
“Forever War” introduces a clean guitar introduction that carries a hint of Middle Eastern influence for the first twenty seconds, pausing a moment before unleashing a venomous assault that pushes the bass guitar and deeper notes right to the forefront in a way modern God Dethroned recordings have been known to do. Even when the pace slows down the tight hooks and backing chords fill the music that builds to a commanding Hardcore groove in the background that ends up a nice touch before the crippling “Marching Forward to Victory” kicks in. The slower pace works to establish a forlorn environment at first, picking up steam with the presented grooves. About two minutes in the guitars kick out some Stoner Rock notes along the lines of what The Sword or Red Fang would use. Sadly, their existence is brief, closing in a way to makes the guitars and drums sound flat and lifeless. This is one of the very few moments that will certainly let you down regardless the energy the vocals still possess.
While Keitzer‘s material keeps the band from sounding like another Napalm Death clone by sticking more to commanding Death Metal brutality similar but not limited to the likes of Misery Index and Skinless. “We Are the Serpents of Doom” bares some traditional Grindcore fangs at the very beginning, which surprisingly isn’t the most enthusiastic of starts. The music afterwards is steady on the machine gun bass kicks and well timed guitars. There is what sounds like a quick edit at thirty-five seconds on the cymbals that seems sneaky but still easy to pick up on. It’s distracting, but not enough to damage the performance. There’s also “Fleshcrawl,” which is grounded more in the nineties Death Metal world than anything. There’s some moody hooks on occasion, though none compare to the somewhat depressing guitar solo, not to mention some sections that sound like you’re marching into war.
For their fifth effort, Keitzer definitely pull out all the stops to issue an album that goes against the grain of common Death Metal/Grindcore recordings, and it works perfectly. Sure the band does start to lose some steam after a while, but even those tracks that don’t have the same vigour still end up solid performances with very little to speak negatively about. It’s clear that time has been great to Keitzer, allowing them to nurture and grow their sound to the refined speciman it is today. With a solid audio quality backing up intense performances that vary between blistering, commanding and bludgeoning, The Last Defence is easily one of the best hidden gems 2014 has to offer, and hopefully with F.D.A. Rekotz popularity growing with every release Keitzer‘s finest hour won’t go criminally overlooked.
01. Bellum Indicere – 1:39
02. Exist to Destroy – 1:02
03. This is the Only Solution – 2:52
04. Forever War – 3:21
05. Marching Forward to Victory – 3:42
06. The Last Defence – 3:16
07. Next Offensive – 2:51
08. We Are the Serpents of Doom – 2:16
09. Fleshcrawl – 4:28
10. Todgeweiht – 1:12
11. Glorious Dead – 3:27
12. Ausgeloscht – 1:48
13. Crusade – 3:45
14. …Before Annihilation – 2:01
|Initial Pressing Score: 9/10