The Last Reign – Evolution
Release Date: 18/09/2020
Running Time: 54:25
Review by Victor Augusto
Here it is! 2021! And finally, we can leave the last insane year behind. As always, I use this time to stop for a while and think about everything that’s happened throughout the year, not only in my personal life, but also in all my work on reviews and interviews. Probably you will hear me saying that I need to improve in many areas, because I will never feel like I am doing it properly! Even though I’ve revised a few plans, there are still some simple things that I wish to stay the same. One of them is the desire to be surprised with something exciting in an album, that I find on the first listen, when writing a review. However, when I first got this album, I didn’t find it ‘different’ to start with, and I have to confess that it took some weeks until I finally got that ‘surprise’, and I will explain why. So, here we go!
First, when I talk about not be impressed straight away, it is nothing related to the quality of the band. That is unquestionable. And I loved their music right from the first song. Focusing on the album as a whole, “Evolution” has the sound of the best kind of Swedish Melodic Death Metal, which appeared during the nineties. I could hear a mix of the dark atmosphere from bands like Dark Tranquility, for example. When it comes to the arrangements, this album reminded me a bit of Entombed, and another Swedish influence that I could feel was At The Gates and The Crown, in regard to the aggressiveness and punch, over all the sonority. With these incredible bands that I’ve mentioned, you’ll probably already have an idea how great this album is.
The instrumental intro on ‘Genesis’ is very dense with the sound growing until it explodes into the song ‘Evolution Of A Dying Race’ that is pretty brutal. Actually, the entire album is extremely aggressive, mainly because of the work of the drummer, Vince Mayer. This guy is a relentless machine! He plays fast the entire album. When the rest of the band seems to slow down, he increases his parts. An example of this is in ‘The Hourglass’, where he keeps destroying his drum kit while the rest of the band slows!
The guitar sound in this album is another highlight. Brian Platter does an amazing job with the wall of heaviness, and he fits in interesting melodies, and short solos, to give a new perspective to the music.
Adam Svensson does a good job on vocals with his interpretation, although there are not so many variations in his voice, but it does fit pretty well in the band’s idea of sonority. The only negative point (maybe not so positive) is the bass of Joe Maggio being a little hidden among the dense heaviness of the band. Considering he plays very well, and the band has just one guitar, I wish it could be loud, and have more independent parts, like I heard in a few parts of ‘Ironclad Torment’. It could offer a good dynamic, different from the guitar lines, and maybe the atmosphere that the band creates asks for this kind of sound. However, that is just a matter of taste and it is still an amazing work by Mr. Maggio.
Now let’s get to what really surprised me. The Last Reign is an American band. Yes, this simple detail shocked me. Most American Death Metal bands I’ve heard are extremely brutal. I guess the fact I am a huge fan of the great scene that came from Tampa in the early nineties made me relate Death with those bands, but I could feel this kind of brutality pretty sublimely in The Last Reign’s music. They really brought all the elements from the mentioned melodic Death Metal, but there are a few aggressive lines diluted over it, and that is what I think is cool, the mix of two very different worlds in the same album. Sometimes they even add a versatility from Thrash Metal, as you can hear on the drums during ‘Terminal Threshold’, and I think versatility is the best word to define Vince’s work in this album.
Another detail that pleased me is how all the songs are very well worked. There is not a single weak song. There is no song composed just to complete the album. All tracks are amazing, and you will have fun until the last song ‘Architects of Genocide’ which is an absolute killer! By the way, if you start listening to this album from the last track, going back to the first song, you will have fun in the same way. All these details, together with amazing production, is what makes “Evolution” an incredible album, and I hope it surprises you as much as it surprised me.
02. Evolution Of A Dying Race
03. Annihilation Of The Ancients
04. Ironclad Torment
05. The Hourglass
06. Fallen Dark
07. No Horizon
08. Terminal Threshold
09. The Storm
12. Architects Of Genocide
Adam Svensson – Vocals
Brian Platter – Guitars
Joe Maggio – Bass
Vince Mayer – Drums
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