Days of doom and deserted fear

DESERTED FEAR: Doomsday

Release year: 2022
Label: Century Media

Nowadays, when speaking of the “Swedish death metal sound”, almost everyone seems to equate it to the sound pioneered by Entombed, Dismember and the likes. The dry, brittle HM-2 guitar tone, the prominent thrash influences, the whole shebang. But, back in the early noughties, if someone mentioned “Swedish death metal”, the first and foremost association would usually be the melodic, so-called Gothenburg sound as exhibited by, among others, Dark Tranquillity and In Flames. Oh how times do change!

German Deserted Fear are an throwback to that age of thrashing, melodic Swedish death metal. Their unashamedly melodic riffwork and gruff vocals will fit in snugly with friends of the Gothenburg sound.

Yeah, OK, so I admit it: I was never a fan of the Gothenburg sound. I don’t even really like At The Gates, one of the absolute pioneers of the style, very much. This is not perhaps the best starting point to review Deserted Fear’s fifth album… but here we are.

I have to admit, the Germans have nailed the classic Gothenburg sound pretty well, and infused it with a welcome dollop of the classic swedeath sound. That other Swedish death metal sound, already touched upon in the intro. And there’s more of the earlier Gothenburg style here, before everything became too melodic and light. So things aren’t quite as bleak as they might be. Points to Deserted Fear for that.

Still, this is all pretty derivative. If you’ve heard old In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates and what have you, Deserted Fear won’t offer you anything new. And, scarcely surprising, nothing better than the staples of the style have offered long, long ago. In comparison to the (in my opinion, few) good albums in this substyle of death metal, Doomsday is passable but very by-the-numbers.

I guess it all boils down to a simple question: do you miss the time when In Flames were still death metal? If your answer is yes, you’ll probably dig this album. If you, like me, answer that with a non-committal “meh”, then probably Doomsday won’t be your cup of tea.

I mean, Doomsday isn’t by any means a bad album. The Germans do a pretty good pastiche, but ultimately that’s what this is, and therefore I really can’t call this particularly good, either. But then, I do acknowledge that I’m not exactly the target group for Deserted Fear’s sound.

So, in a nutshell: if Gothenburg, and in general the latter 90’s melodic Swedish sound, is your thing, then you’ll dig this. If not, then most likely not. But for what it does, Doomsday is decent.

Visit Deserted Fear on their website or Facebook

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