Slave One - Omega Disciples
Dolorem Records
Death Metal
8 songs (38:05)
Release year: 2020
Official Bandcamp
Reviewed by Goat

French death metallers Slave One have a technical and brutal bent to their sound that helps them stand out from the crowd, especially vital in these days of social distancing! Named presumably after Boba Fett's personal spaceship, the band make a restless, shifting sort of death metal that moves from not uncatchy tech-hooks to a more primitive and intense pounding and back again, skilful in both instrumental capability and songwriting. It's a breathlessly enjoyable listen if you're a fan of death metal, connoisseurs of which will note the lingering impression that drummer Sébastien leaves as he effortlessly provides a delicious multilayered battering, or the melodic frills and trills thrown in by guitarists Nicolas and Benoît, rarely taking a simplistic approach.

And although there are two weak elements here that do drag the album down, the fact is that neither the basic growl that vocalist Tarvos uses most of the time nor the slightly flawed production really detract from the experience overall, not least because each instrument is still perfectly audible, even the bass. Little touches like the spoken sections on the otherwise nicely gloomy and Immolation-esque Debris help it stand out from, say, the following technical beat-down that opens Dissident Flesh, the bass having a moment to shine before the dissonant guitar riffs begin their oddly chilling work. And the complex way that pretty much every track here is structured is excellent, said Dissident Flesh's general Gojira-esque groove opening up into a section with a crowd-chanted "flesh! Flesh!" that adds tremendously to the atmospheric side of things, the rhythm section showing its sharp versatility later with nicely technical rumblings beneath ominous lead guitar.

It's all very impressive. And whichever way the band are stretching themselves, whether to longer songs like the six-minute Shapers of the Inconsistent Horizon, which allows some air into the density and focuses a little more on changing the vocals up (and, of course, feels much shorter than its length) or the two minutes and twenty seconds of Les Disciples de l'Omega, which moves from groovy technicality to a Nile-esque sandstorm to the face. Heck, even instrumental workout Ce que dit la bouche de l'ombre ('what the shadow mouth says', cheers Google Translate) does a good job with its scissoring riffs and wild soloing, and finale Suffocating the Stars leaves you wanting more with an especially violent Hate Eternal-esque brutalising before turning slower and almost epic in its second half. It all adds up to a superb death metal experience, and ensures that Slave One are a name to follow for the discerning devotee.

Killing Songs :
Debris, Dissident Flesh, Suffocating the Stars
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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