In Battle - Kingdom Of Fear
Death/Thrash Metal
11 songs (44:44)
Release year: 2007
Reviewed by Goat

Formed in 1996 as a Black Metal band, In Battle gradually introduced Viking and Death/Thrash influences to become the beast it is today. Kingdom Of Fear, the Swedish band’s fourth full length, reflects all its inspirations without sounding forced or uncertain. Although many that lay claim to the Death/Thrash tag seem to be little more than peddlers of some pathetic attempt at mimicry of The Haunted, there are a few who make an art form of it, and In Battle certainly have a good go.

Although at first seeming to stick to a blueprint of technical riffs and all-out blasting, there’s a lot going on under the surface. Those Viking Metal influences give an epic nature to proceedings without dragging at all (the exact opposite of Amon Amarth, perhaps?), and that, when combined with the Dimmu Borgir meets Old Man’s Child style of the Blackened bits, gives In Battle its wings. The Multitude is a good example of this, mixing complex riffing with breakneck pacing, and mixing in plenty of slower, catchier moments to keep the listener engaged. Death Metal fans aren’t left behind at all, either – from the opening track onwards, there’s a sped-up Suffocation vibe that gives a real heaviness to proceedings.

The band clearly has some skilled songwriters among its numbers, judging from the variety on show. Follow The Allfather is an excellent change of pace, trying for a more straightforward Death Metal song with a repetitive but interesting riff backing some enjoyable vocal posturing from vocalist John Sandin, who yowls, growls and rolls his ‘r’s like a man possessed. Dreadfully hammy, certainly, but it flows perfectly within the album and is sure to be a live favourite. Elsewhere, the likes of The Curse take on a more Black/Death style, being heavier on the blasting, but it shows the skill of drummer Nils Fjellström (also of Dark Funeral) as there seems to be just enough little fills and trills to keep things technical. His versatility is also worth noting, going from Proggy cymbal-taps and rolls to speedy blastbeats in the Enslaved-ish Terrorkings alone.

Guitarwork throughout is nothing short of stellar, although more widdly guitar solos would be appreciated. There’s nothing really that can be said against Kingdom Of Fear overall, there being enough variety to cancel out any small weak moments. Raven Calls even manages to end the album on a high note, pushing the speed pedal and hanging on for dear life. When the worst that you can say about an album is that some of the songs end a bit abruptly, you know you’re onto a winner.

It’s a shame that whilst a band like In Battle can make an album that easily beats the latest efforts by its peers in quality, whether it outsells them is another matter altogether. You just know that Arch Enemy’s latest collection of empty melodeth anthems is going to outsell Kingdom Of Fear, for example, and it’s infuriating. Here’s a plea, metalheads and headesses: for once, don’t just follow the big names. Put your money where the metal is!

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 86 / 100
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