Feral – Where Dead Dreams Dwell (Cyclone Empire)Tuesday, 19th May 2015
For all of the misfires and half-hearted attempts at old school Swedish death metal, there’s occasionally a diamond in the rough that makes things worth digging through. Recently, Entrails finally got themselves out of a rut, and now out pops Feral, with their second effort Where Dead Dreams Dwell. Following up a 2011 debut, Where Dead Dreams Dwell is a surprisingly massive and impressive take on a mostly stale genre.
Usually the descriptor “Old School Swedish Death Metal” brings with it some groans, but it didn’t take Feral long to turn that around. To get it out of the way, there’s nothing original about what Feral is doing – this is as the tag says, old school through and through. Once you wrap your head around that, feel free to come around to the festivities. Everything is on-point and hits the upper echelon of the genre, stylistically speaking. Many bands in the style can offer up a track or two of unrelenting Swedish death, but Feral does it from beginning to end. There is no lull, no atmospherics (well there are a few quiet moments at the beginning of “Suffering Torment”), just chainsaw buzzing and savage vocals until you get your fill. Pick any song on the album, and you’ll find energized and infectious riffing and some solid leadwork. It’s really this quality that keeps the album entertaining – it’s fun, upbeat, and makes you want to thrash through the closest wall.
Perhaps not the most original album of the year, but Feral has brought the ferocious bite back into Swedish death metal. If you are a fan of the genre, this is easily one of the finest of the style to come out within the last few months, right up there with the aforementioned Entrails or Bloodbath.