Every metalhead who hunts around the internet looking for the best music around knows exactly what it feels like to stumble upon a band they've never heard of, yet they give the band a chance and are blown away. That's exactly what happened upon my random encounter with the Swedish death squad Degial, a group who should be one of the most common names in the metal underground right now. Their debut record "Death's Striking Wings" doesn't sound like "Left Hand Path" or "Into the Grave," in fact there's very little that these albums have in common, as Degial doesn't play a re-hash of the d-beat riddled, chainsaw-toned death metal that hundreds of bands around seem to enjoy so much (Hell, I enjoy a fair amount of it myself), rather their brand of death metal possesses plenty of thrashing violence, sheer brutality and a healthy dosage of evil that would put plenty of today's metal bands to shame.
Degial channel plenty of different influences throughout "Death's Striking Wings," bringing a great variety to the table as they were able to create eight tracks that were all notable for standing out while retaining a sound that could only be described as incredible. With the absence of traditional Swedeath trademarks, the music found throughout can be compared to many different bands in the metal spectrum as there are songs on this album ("Swarming" and "Black Grave" in particular) that conjure up some morbid melodies and tremolos that could easily be traced back to Swedish black metal groups who made a living tormenting listeners with chilling and sinister melodies. These Swedes also seem to have a love for thrash that they're not afraid of showing in their music as the riffs in "Serpent's Tide" and "Chaos Chant" that make a lot of today's thrash acts look like silly metalcore acts, as these riffs are the personification of violence.
In addition to the thrashing and the evil aura, Degial also reminds one of groups like Angelcorpse and Impiety due to their insane and devastating sound that seems to pummel the listener into a pile of insignificant dust. It's truly an amazing experience when you can admire the group's ability to create music that's not only intense and explosive, but also precise and memorable (look no further than the epic title track for proof). Along with the variety of different influences that one could pick out of the music, there are other parts to the band's songs that deserve some attention. For one, the drumming is spectacular. There's plenty of fast action that speeds up the music, but there are also a lot of fills that capture the listener's attention throughout the duration of the record. The vocals aren't overly special, they're a little typical for black/death bands actually, but not as bellowing and low as some. The guitarists deserve a lot of credit for their work as well. The solos aren't mindblowing, in fact I'm sure I'm not the only one who pictured Kerry King when the solos came into the song as they're usually composed of random noodling with some whammy pillaging. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised with how brilliant "Death's Striking Wings" is. If you're a fan of any of the other bands that were alluded to here, then this record is for you. It's already a serious contender to be one of the best albums this year and Degial has now found themselves in a tough spot as it will not be easy to top this record, though I'm sure these guys are more than capable of delivering another onslaught of the senses, and I can't wait.
"Death's Striking Wings"
"Black Grave (The Gateway)"
4.5/5 or 90%.