Strigoi bring together metallic veterans seeking brutality with killer debut ‘Abandon All Faith’

There are a lot of adjectives used on this site, as you may have noticed. We like them. Anyway, sometimes we use words that seem obvious or silly in context based on our subject matter. For example, it seems kind of stupid to describe a death metal band as brutal, because isn’t that sort of expected? Yet, here we go.

New British death meal band Strigoi make music that is decidedly brutal as hell, and yeah, that might make you roll your eyes at me. That’s OK. Take on these 12 tracks frtom debut “Abandon All Faith” that are the brainchildren of longtime Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh and see if that descriptor isn’t right on the money, because there is violence, misery, and anger all over this thing, smearing you with ash. Mackintosh had tapped into his death metal veins on his now laid-to-rest Vallenfyre, a band that developed after the death of his father, but this is taken to the next level as far as intensity and heaviness are concerned. Along with bassist Chris Casket (formerly of Extreme Noise Terror, as well as Vallenfyre), the guitarist/vocalist unleashes hell here, sometimes with songs that don’t even make two minutes but still lay waste. While others are full beasts that batter and smash you, leaving digits broken, psyches marred.

“The Rising Horde” is a quick intro cut that brings drone and squeals, letting doom infiltrate before “Phantoms” launches with riffs bleeding and the track being torn apart. Growls are buried in rubble while the leads glimmer, leading to a thrashy solo belting you before everything comes to a crushing end. “Nocturnal Vermin” has the bass rolling into sludgy guitars, as the tempo mauls heavily. The vocals are speedy, as the track turns to total demolition before the mud kicks up again. “Seven Crowns” goes off right at the start, galloping over the war field, ushering in devastation. The growls gurgle while the soloing hits a high mark, then the drums crash through walls while the track meets a fiery demise. “Throne of Disgrace” unloads smearing guitars and speed that grind away and leaves rubble behind.  “Carved Into the Skin” opens with a doomy haze that carries over and stings the nerve endings. “We must swallow depravity,” Mackintosh howls as the track goes hypnotic, bleeding out into darkness.

“Parasite” brings noise crashing and slow drumming developing a mood before the band opens a thrashy assault, and the vocals are spat at an alarming clip. The track mashes body parts later as the growls crush, and the track burns away. “Iniquitous Rage” punishes out of the gates as the gravelly growls menace, and the tempo destroys, with the guitars peeling paint off the walls. “Plague Nation” unleashes swirling guitars, monstrous growls, and a gritty pace that rubs cinders into open wounds. Ominous leads cut through the center as Mackintosh wails the title and smokes your brain. “Enemies of God” drubs and feels a little like a Celtic Frost-style storm with vicious howls belting you in the mid-section. The guitars rub your face in mud, leaving you gasping for air that never comes. “Scorn of the Father” punches out of the gates, stomping and lunging for the guts, setting fires. Guttural growls crush inhibitions as a slow-charging attack leads to the end. The title track caps off this adventure with scraping growls, goth-style backing, and a tempo that sits on simmer. There is a solemn, doomy feel while noises rise up, and the track ends in an echo chamber.

Strigoi’s entrance into this world brings two veterans metal definitely needs operating at a high level on “Abandon All Faith.” The ferocity in which the band operates is practically tangible, which is why you might feel utterly brutalized when the record is done. Yeah, sometimes we go a little overboard describing the madness we hear on some records, but when it comes to Strigoi’s debut, maybe we didn’t go far enough.

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