Appalling Spawn - Freedom, Hope And Fury
Inferno Records
Melodic Death/Grind
10 songs (35:12)
Release year: 1998
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

The name of Lykathea Aflame has long been dear to the black hearts of the underground, but few seem to be as familiar with the band’s earlier incarnation, the Brutal Death/Grind machine that went by the name of Appalling Spawn. Although the Eastern elements in the band’s sound are yet to arrive, the interestingly melodic riffing and diverse drumwork are still very much present and correct, and these form an attack that most fans of Death Metal will be unable to resist.

Easiest compared to the avant-Grind of old Cryptopsy mixed with Suffocation’s unhinged power, Freedom, Hope And Fury is unmistakably heavy yet melodic at the same time. Songs are constructed around progressively-minded sets of riffs from guitarists Petr and Ondrej, and ferocious backing from drummer Gabriel; although it’s (mostly) fast and brutal music, it’s easy to grasp and enjoy, the melodic likes of Sublime Fury touching on Melodeath as much as the Brutal variant. You need to listen a few times to really crack the album, as initial listens can leave My Heaven, for example, sounding rather repetitive, but once you’ve heard it a couple times more it’s little short of excellent. You can blame this partially on the easily audible bass (played to perfection by Andy Maresh) which twangs along with the guitars and gives everything an almost galloping, Iron Maiden-y touch. Of course, the band’s sense of melody helps too, creating a perfect mix of headbanging groove and twisted melodies, dancing beneath a heavy, overcast sky.

There’s an innate professionalism running through the veins of the album that extends to even the classical-infused weirdness of interlude piece Azure Waters Of Inthera. It’s well-considered and more than just filler; indeed, at just a minute and a half in length you’ll find yourself wishing for more! Definitely a suitable foil to the general heaviness, as melodic as the subtle leads in the likes of Voyage To Inward Freedom and hinting at future grandeur from the band; it makes the drum-lead in to the chaotic By Sword And Heart seems more brutal as a result.

Few will argue that Freedom, Hope And Fury is the best piece of music to come from this group of musicians – the band changed its name soon after with the departure of drummer Gabriel, and it’s the newly-named Lykathea Aflame’s only release to date Elvenefris which generally gets the kudos, rightfully so, I think, as it’s undeniably several steps more evolved than Freedom, Hope And Fury. Looking at this album for what it is, however, results in nothing but positivity. Those that enjoyed the cerebral battery of Cryptopsy’s classic None So Vile will find much of the same power present here, albeit under a veil of melody that wraps around the listeners’ shoulders and keeps them coming back for more. Seriously, if the weird lead riffs and bonecrushing brutality of, say, Celestian don’t appeal, then there’s something seriously wrong with your Death Metal tastes.

MySpace (fan)
Killing Songs :
Manthra Of Hope, My Heaven, Sublime Fury, By Sword And Heart, Celestian
Goat quoted 87 / 100
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