Blackwater – Founded on the Shambles (Self Released)

Tuesday, 14th October 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

German-based death/black metallers Blackwater have a penchant for destruction. On their first EP, Founded on the Shambles, the band pushes four tracks of bludgeoning modern death metal that effectively infuses some black metal elements (such as some tremolo picked riff segments) to keep you on your toes. Best of all, this EP is free to all if you check out their Bandcamp page!

After noting the “F” word in the paragraph above (free of course), if you are still on the fence about checking out Blackwater, let’s dissect the EP a bit. The first thing that is noticeable as “Man is the Cruelest Animal” is that this has a suitably modern production, but the guitar riffs are still quite burly. Combine this with the often thundering drum accompaniment and you can get the sense that this is more blistering than not. There is some occasional, NYDM-styled groove (pick your favorite inspirational band here) but the key component is the more melodic black metal riffing that occasionally infiltrates the brawny death metal landscape. Nothing ever seems to be in a direction that takes melody too far (for death metal of this flavor at least), but the blackened influences provide a direction that keeps them from sounding like other like-minded modern death metallers.

Founded on the Shambles is a remarkably strong debut from this German band. It can push brutality with the best of them and still manage to pull off a few surprises without seemingly trite or cliché. Blackwater is on to a winning formula, let’s hope they can crank out some more material soon.

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