Deserted Fear is something of an enigma. Despite being signed to Century Media Records and recently releasing their third album, it feels like the band hasn’t received a significant push in either the underground or the mainstream metal scenes. After a few listens of “Dead Shores Rising”, it becomes clear why they don’t seem to be especially in favour of either group: they straddle the line between the two almost perfectly. Deserted Fear can best be described as Bolt Thrower meets Amon Amarth. Imagine a constant onslaught of crushing grooves infused with harmonized guitar playing. In fact, the opening moments of “The Fall of Leaden Skies”, the first real song on the album, bring these two elements together.
To the band’s credit, where they differ from these two groups is their willingness to push tempos to fairly high speeds. Not content with simply grooving and bobbing some heads, Deserted Fear has some thrash-inspired moments that will induce immediate whiplash. The band seamlessly transitions between faster moments and monolithic mid-paced sections, taking no prisoners in both instances. The production is monstrous and supports the band’s sheer heaviness. This is one of the few examples of where a major label (for metal) production really has a positive impact. It accentuates how tight the band’s playing is, and makes everything infinitely heavier.
As one might imagine, much of Deserted Fear’s riffs are predicated on tremolo picking various patterns. Though the guitars are extremely downtuned, the band’s more melodic tendencies open up more variety in the riffs that can be used, as opposed to more brutal bands that have a limited selection of notes. The drums range from the aforementioned thrashier beats, to speedy double bass drumming with simplistic handwork over top, to spacy grooves (with the latter two styles paying great homage to Bolt Thrower). Blast beats are not particularly in favour, and likely would not suit the band's sound. The growling is primarily limited to gutturals, with the occasional higher note, but the execution on the low end is extremely convincing.
There aren’t too many tricks to be found as the album soldiers on, but Deserted Fear opted to make a concise, impactful record. Everything they do on this album is done with extreme care and precision. My initial confusion when discovering the band was how could a band signed to Century Media receive so little attention; after listening to this album numerous times, the real question is how could a band this good be ignored by so many listeners? I don’t have an answer, but regardless, Deserted Fear is essential death metal that wipes the floor with almost everything else going on in this subgenre in 2017!
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"The Fall of Leaden Skies"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott