Spearhead - Decrowning The Irenarch
Invictus Productions
Death Metal
11 songs (37:47)
Release year: 2007
Spearhead, Invictus Productions
Reviewed by Goat

A personal highlight of 2006 for yours truly was Deathless Steel Command, the debut release of a little-known British Black Metal band called Spearhead. A brutal yet atmospheric ride that took you through the grime and guts of a battlefield as realistically as if you were there, it spoke of much to come from this talented band. Well, nearly two years have passed and the follow-up has finally fallen into these eager fingers, and the first surprise is the overhaul that the band’s image has taken. From the dark World War ethos of Deathless Steel Command to this, a historical view on warfare that touches upon the ancient world onwards, when Rome had an empire to its name, when Napoleon was a name to be feared.

The next surprise comes when Decrowning The Irenarch is played; the band has shifted from the Blackness of before towards a more general Death Metal sound, much as Behemoth did. Aurally, this is still harsh, headbanging Metal, machine gun drums and razor-edged riffing blasting a brutal message. The booklet describes a fairly unique philosophy: with the fall of empires, the warrior castes of society have become useless – to quote directly: ‘the masses become comfortable, in time they become indolent, ignorant, blind and disruptive.’ The answer is, of course, to wage war, and with Decrowning The Irenarch Spearhead seek nothing else but annihilation.

Unlike some, however, this band has the walk to back its talk up, and you’ll soon fall in love with the technical yet rabid Death Metal on offer. Tracks such as When The Pillars Fall match brutality with songwriting skills to fashion tracks that are as good on the tenth listen as the first. Each and every member of the band is on fire musically, from Nephilim’s guitar leads to Vortigern’s mechanical battery, given focus and power by the excellent production yet not allowed to overwhelm the guitars. Everything is purely professional; for example, the Shakespeare spoken word performance in interlude piece Interregnum is astonishingly effective, especially since it was performed by members of the band and not sampled.

Like so many other unfairly ignored British Death Metal bands, Spearhead takes the formula of a dying, overcrowded genre and propels it to new heights. OK, this may be a less experimental route than others have taken, but it’s performed so damn well that it’s impossible not to bow before the expertise. Imagine Angelcorpse making a concept album about war – well, Decrowning The Irenarch is even better than that, and coming from an Angelcorpse fanboy this is saying something. Spearhead, with just two albums, is at a more exciting point in its career than, say, Morbid Angel has gotten anywhere near in the last ten years, and considering the band was only formed in 2005… it’s not unfair to suggest even greater things will be coming from this talented horde. Until then, this album is an awesome listen.

Killing Songs :
Decrowning The Irenarch, When The Pillars Fall, Road To Austerlitz, In The Face Of The Absolute, Brotherhood Of Arms
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Spearhead that we have reviewed:
Spearhead - Theomachia reviewed by Charles and quoted 72 / 100
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