Dies Irae - Sculpture Of Stone
Metal Blade
Death/Thrash Metal
9 songs (39:19)
Release year: 2004
Metal Blade
Reviewed by Crims

This sort of side-project by Mauser and Doc from Vader has released yet another CD, which comes just a short while after Vader’s latest. Their last CD, The Sin War, which I reviewed (go read it) had some slight hints of Thrash that worked its way rather well into the riffs and tempos. It was a nice addition to the CD but never did I think they’d release a CD that was full blown Death/Thrash. Once playing Death Metal that was perhaps a little too close to Vader for comfort, Dies Irae now stand on their own with a classic blend of American Death Metal and Thrash riffs and drumming.

Thrash riffs are all fine and dandy but that doesn’t make a good CD on their own. Dies Irae hasn’t forgotten this and has continued the trend of strong and consistent song writing. Gone are almost all of the blasts and instead we’re left with more double bass, more rhythm heavy tracks, and more mid-paced crunch fests. The music is still very aggressive and in your face but the speed has been toned down in favor of structured riffs and catchier head banging groove (tempos being more like Destruction than say Krisiun). Some might consider this a bad thing but I think it’s a step in the right direction. As mentioned the band has stepped out of the Vader shadow and are now a true-force to be reckoned with in Death Metal rather than being labeled as “that band that’s almost as good as Vader”. With the addition of heavy Thrash elements in both the song writing and riffs, the Death Metal found on this release is more appealing and refreshing.

Dies Irae occasionally used some slowed down Doom elements in between their fast sections and the overall effect created a rather interesting atmosphere. Unfortunately, when you include catchier riffs and more stream-lined, head bang friendly rhythms you lose some of that atmosphere created by aggressive blasts and well-placed atmosphere build up (they still show up just not nearly as often). It is a trade off but I do think it was a trade off for the better. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression though. Dies Irae still has many of the elements that made their first two releases somewhat successful in Death Metal circles, but there are enough new elements to continue to push the envelope of what kind of Death Metal these guys can do, and do well.

Naturally, with Doc and Mauser involved in the band you can expect two things. First of which is the drumming: it is excellent. Mauser’s double bass is better than ever and his precision and timing, not to mention his trademark drum sound is a welcome addition on any CD he performs on. Meanwhile Mauser provides, again, some excellent melodic leads. His leads take on an even bigger role and I never get tired of them. Vader’s The Beast and now Sculpture Of Stone are excellent examples of how to do leads in Death Metal… great stuff. The overall production is roughly the same as previous releases, though perhaps with more crunch and less of a dark tone and of course that goes hand in hand with the slight style change. Novy’s vocals remain unchanged and that means you get a rather original take on the trademark Death Metal growl; though not always the most successful it is at least distinct. However, a welcome addition to the vocals is some occasional higher-pitched growls being somewhere between old Kreator and typical Gothernburg vocals from the late 90’s. This does follow the latest trend of having multiple vocal styles in Death Metal but it does work very well here, and is actually needed as the sudden vocal changes create some interesting dynamics and makes Novy’s usual vocals easier to stomach.

All in all this is Dies Irae’s best CD thus far. The Thrash riffs are great and the Death Metal riffs are still top-notch. A professionally put together release from a song writing and musicianship stand point, Sculpture Of Stone was a welcome addition to the somewhat weak Death Metal field of 2004.

Killing Songs :
Beyond All Dimensions, The Hunger, The Art Of Endless Creation, Sculpture Of Stone
Crims quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Dies Irae that we have reviewed:
Dies Irae - The Sin War reviewed by Crims and quoted 80 / 100
Dies Irae - Immolation reviewed by Crims and quoted 78 / 100
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