Royal Deceit – Ill (Prime Collective)

Friday, 11th August 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Arriving on the scene in 2014, Danish four-piece Royal Deceit have released two EP’s plus their debut album Animus in 2020 – performing at some of the biggest Danish festivals while sharing the stage with Jinjer and Defecto among others. The latest album Ill contains ten quick hitting tracks of metalcore, placing the right emphasis on memorable main riffs, cool extreme to clean vocal transitions, plus the nicest range of explosive dynamics when you least expect them.

Low chugging guitar action meets solid bass/drum support to emphasize the killer, rhythmic hooks on display – the vocals swirling around to meet forceful demand, rising to levels of aggression, terror, or submission, then leaning into a melodic / clean chorus only to return to those diabolical heavy proceedings. Djent-oriented parts garner “Undertow” immediate headbanging approval – the midsection much smoother to allow the stunted, staccato-laden aspects greater impact, much in the way that Killswitch Engage hits Periphery or Parkway Drive textures, the low-tuned switch-ups intriguing. At other times the push/pull between guitars and drums sets up circular groove combinations that allow the vocals to pogo between metal, hardcore and alternative/modern rock avenues – “Self-Destruction” and the title track the two best examples of the multi-layered approach. Even if you know when specific melodic passages are going to hit your ears (place “Lowlife” here), the conviction should win over most – while the savage screams and general vocal roar will peel paint off walls, in the best way possible. By the time “Closer” hits with its spacious buildups and sense of urgency, most will go right back to the start – a sure sign of memorable songwriting in tight spaces, at 36 minutes ideal for physical media consumers.

Metalcore in 2023 has a bit more diversity than the first generation that hit the streets during the late 90’s/early 2000’s – especially in the capable hands of Royal Deceit. Ill should rouse up the hordes, leave them battered, bruised, and better for the cause.

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