Bands come and go, sometimes alarmingly fast and very few journey on past the 10 year mark. Deuteronomium has released The Amen in celebration of their 20th year since they formed as a band. Now granted there were a few years in the early part of this century when they were disbanded, but they’ve been back together since 2006. As a band and being a metal fan somewhat biased toward Christian metal bands, Deuteronomium is a name I had often seen and heard mention of but sadly had somehow never been exposed to until now, which is much to my chagrin.
Deuteronomium formed in 1993 in Finland and with Immortal Souls were among the first of the extreme metal band from Finland who were also Christian. In terms of sound, Deuteronomium it has been said that they started out with a more straight ahead death metal and grindcore type sound similar to bands like Vengeance Rising and Cannibal Corpse, but over time they have experimented with incorporation of a variety of sounds and styles and settled into a “death and roll” sound incorporating melodic black and death metal with some punk and straight ahead rock and roll influences. The Amen marks their ninth release and fifth full-length album. From early in their career, Deuteronomium have not watered down their beliefs and their lyrics are very plain and to the point when it comes to their Christian beliefs. The easiest example of this is “Psalm 117” on The Amen, which is taken straight from Bible with some extra chanted “Hallelujahs” scattered throughout.
For those who are in the know about the sound of Scandinavian metal, I would describe Deuteronomium as a cross between Antestor and Immortal Souls, taking the black/death sounds of Antestor and adding in the groove and melodic riffing found in many of the Immortal Souls songs. Vocals are more along the lines of the deeper sounds of death metal growls with a certain gravelly, raspy quality that adds an air of uniqueness to the sound. The Amen starts off with “Dead Man Dancing” and wastes no time establishing a groove-laden almost Southern metal riff that switches into a jackhammer-type riff for some of the verse sections before speeding back up into the original riff. What a great introduction to their sound. Throw in a couple guitar solos and the death metal vocals and you have one great song. “In the Midst of Lions” is the next track and continues the unrelenting heavy groove riffing. There’s not much time catch one’s breath on the album as the third song, “The Nazorean” has a good fast intro riff and some nice double bass to speed things up from time to time throughout the song.
One characteristic that really strikes me on this album is how well-crafted the songs are. Having reviewed now a number of bands spanning those who have been around 20 or more years to those just putting out their first release, there is a certain quality, maybe maturity, found in the sound of the bands who are true veterans. Younger bands tend to have their own unique qualities that are often not found in the veteran bands as the younger bands have a sense of urgency to their sound, a sense of something to prove and this is a great aspect to their sound. Veteran bands unless they’re making a comeback from an extended release, tend to have songs where everything seems to work, nothing is out of place. This is a long roundabout way to say that the songs on The Amen reflect a band with great skill who has learned a great deal about song structure. While some of the riffs are not the most complicated, they work incredibly well and catch your attention.
Somewhere around the middle of The Amen is a switch into a more straightforward black metal style. “Jehovah Sebaoth” starts out with some chords being struck and ringing out with some great drum fills before the song takes off into black metal punctuated by the opening chanting “Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts…Holy, Holy is Jehovah Sabaoth”. It’s one of those songs you catch yourself singing along with and it feels like a worship song. Overall sound reminds me of Antestor in terms of feel and atmosphere, and indeed, there is an extended softer, melodic section with clean guitar, keyboards, and choral background vocals that is eventually joined by two guitars as it fades out. Intense worship followed by a peaceful exit makes for a great contrast and adds power to the message. The album ends with two songs returning to the melodic groove influenced black metal style that the album opened with and these songs serve as a great closure to album. I get the sense the beginning songs were introducing this style with the middle portion songs showing their roots in the Scandinavian black metal sound and then the songs at the end are a return back to the new, but the shifts in sound are gradual and subtle taking the listener along for a great ride.
1. Dead Man Dancing
2. In The Midst Of Lions
4. The Amen
5. Psalm 117
6. Jehovah Sabaoth
7. The Harowing Of Hell
8. Hymn [of a lost]
9. The Place Of A Skull
Current Line Up:
Miika Partala – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Manu Lehtinen – bass, additional vocals
Kalle Paju – lead guitar
J-J Kontoniemi – drums
• Deathbed Poetry – Hope Against Hope [LP, 2011] [Review]
• Retaliatory Strike [vinyl-EP, 2009]
• From the Midst of the Battle [LP, 2008]
• Spelled Alive [live DVD, 2007]
• Here to Stay [LP, 1999]
• …to Die and Gain [CDS, 1999]
• Street Corner Queen [LP, 1998]
• Tribal Eagle [EP. 1997]
• Crosshope [demo, 1996]
• Paths of Righteousness [demo, 1993]
Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Myspace
Record Label: Die And Gain Records, 2013
Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm
Video for “Dead Man Dancing”