Godless Angel - Harvester of Shadows
Inverse Records
Death / Thrash Metal
9 songs (31' 29")
Release year: 2015
Inverse Records
Reviewed by Andy

Godless Angel's one-man hobbyist approach to death metal was one I hadn't heard before, but turned out to be quite listenable. Anyone searching for technical or progressive complexity in Harvester of Shadows is likely to leave empty-handed, but old-school death and thrash worship is much in evidence, right down to the garish, crudely-drawn cover straight out of death metal's pioneering early days.

With an intro lead-in to the first song, Containment Breach in Sector 6 turns out to be a combination of grinding, Slayer-esque beats with death riffing that reminds me a good deal of Master. The guitar has a lo-fi distortion that doesn't have a whole lot of depth to it, as if Derek Neibarger, the group's sole member, bought his amp from a thrash band's junk sale and just cranked up the volume. His voice sounds suitably nasty for his sound; rough and authoritative one moment, choked and muck-ridden the next, it accompanies the high-speed drumming and guitar blasting quite well. Though I liked The Swarm Feeds' and Samhain's speed and heaviness, Suffering the Wrath of the Goddess is more sophisticated and thrashy than the straightforward riffing put on display by its predecessors; even though it's slower, it has a doomy intro that switches to an old-school thrash riff that takes its time for maximum effect.

Really, where Harvester of Shadows shines the most is on tracks like that rather than on straight death metal. Make no mistake, Neibarger does everything pretty well on here, but so many bands have done homages to old-school death that it seems to me that his thrash-oriented tracks have more character. Tracks such as Summoning Darkness and the final track, Disembowling the Deranged, are examples of these. The riffs are much slower than the death metal tracks, but it's easier to appreciate them -- I am reminded of 90s-era Megadeth, a band that did fairly well on most albums from that decade while their peers lost their way. It helps that Neibarger doesn't try to change his vocal style to match these; the gargling vocals remain.

All in all, this is quite an enjoyable album as long as one is into 80s death/thrash hybrids. Outside of that it's less likely to have appeal, but Godless Angel has put together a fairly strong showing within the lines of their chosen genre.

Killing Songs :
The Swarm Feeds, Suffering the Wrath of the Goddess, Disembowling the Deranged
Andy quoted 74 / 100
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