Gosudar - Morbid Despotic Ritual
Rotted Life
Death Metal
6 songs (32:50)
Release year: 2021
Bandcamp, Rotted Life
Reviewed by Goat

Russian trio Gosudar (Russian for 'ruler' or 'prince') here present their debut full-length after barely three years of existence, and it's an impressive burst of downtuned death metal that toys with Swedish death tropes without getting bogged down in them. There's a clear level of technicality to the musicianship that can turn on a dime here, making for a vibrant sound full of life as it plays with a riff before suddenly shifting tempo. An obvious touchstone is Darkthrone's Soulside Journey era, Gosudar having something of that atmosphere even as it makes it a little catchier, such as the chuggier sections of opener Demented Visions of the Infinite Power. Yet the album is happy to push the boundaries beyond that, into blackened gallops on Awakening of the Realm or the same track's Suffocation-esque bursts of precise groove, not to mention the melodic flourishes akin to early Entombed.

You can tell that Gosudar are fans of extreme metal, their exuberance and love of the genre coming through in each track, fashioned from their various influences. And sometimes the results are downright profound, such as album highlight Insurrection of Nephilim's both technical and memorable distillation of death metal. It's something like a slower Cannibal Corpse, sometimes speeding into a zombie shambling gallop, with a hefty interlude section of early Darkthrone-esque atmospherics before resuming the attack.

That's definitely the best track present overall, yet it's to Gosudar's credit that even when their music seems a little cobbled-together, Frankenstein's monster style, they still manage to create compelling bursts of death metal. There's little to no moments that don't work at all, the general energy keeping things propelling forward and making the likes of Prophecy Embodiment with its Autopsy-esque bluntness and slower, doom-death moments utterly headbangable, for instance. Perhaps you could single out Scripture of the Vile Testimony's early Morbid Angel-esque churn as a weaker moment, but that would entirely be down to personal taste as there's nothing actually wrong with it. Although a little rough around the edges, this is a perfectly impressive debut album packed full of great riffs that promises even better things to come.

Killing Songs :
Demented Visions of the Infinite Power, Awakening of the Realm, Insurrection of Nephilim
Goat quoted 75 / 100
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