Diocletian – Gesundrian (Osmose Productions)Thursday, 5th June 2014
Alas, the New Zealand torch-bearer for war metal. The name gives it away – “Diocletian” was a Roman emperor who came up through the empirical ranks after being born into poverty, collecting all sorts of battle scars (and hymns) along the way. Better yet, he died on his own terms (if you want to put it that way), quietly spending his last days in his palace tending to his gardens. No Julius Caeser action here! While Diocletian isn’t as overt with their Roman Empire message as say, Ex Deo, the point is made on the battle-tested Gesundrian, which digs a trench in the easy-to-spot black/death field.
As surmised, the band’s geographical locale has little bearing on their sound. For the most part, it’s lock-step with the likes of Revenge, early-00’s Behemoth, and for a left-field choice, Axis of Advance. The brazen, no-regard-for-human-life-or-the-blood-spilled attack found on “Wolf Against Serpent” and the utterly maniacal “Zealots Poison” find the band combining mutated chord movements with rampant blasting, the type that could be regularly found on albums from the aforementioned lot, as well as Angelcorpse. (Sheesh, we’re recalling all sorts of lost names with this one!)
Gesundrian suffers from the band’s noticeable absence of dynamics and song separation, a regular happening among bands of this style. There’s little doubt jams like “Wolf Against Serpent” or “Summoning Fear” or “Wretched Sons” are thoroughly executed, extremely extreme cuts, but the lasting impression of Gesundrian, and more importantly Diocletian, is that being unrelenting every now and then is cool, but to do it over the course of an entire album is a fast way to no-man’s land.