Genre: Death Metal
Country: Sweden
Label: Sepulchral Voice Records
Year: 2017

As it might have happened with many of you, I found out about the existence of Degial from their hand in hand touring with Watain a few years back, when they were about to release their first album “Death’s Striking Wings”. They also were advocators of a similar worldview as them, posing with the same kind of artworks and the “metal of death” moto, not to mention they actually come from the same hometown, Uppsala. It was only natural for these two bands to collaborate and cross paths, but I believe Degial owe at least some of their popularity to the black metal giants.

We can make a separation right away by the difference in the musical section, which finds Degial heavily into death metal above anything else. I have seen people giving them black metal elements, but I honestly can’t hear any, and it’s the same seed that has given birth to all their three albums, including their latest one “Predator Reign”. The band is fast paced, aggressive, full of scourging riffs and hard growling vocals as it has been from day one. While their music hasn’t won me over in the past, I never really complained about them not being heavy enough, as they don’t really leave any space at all for that, not even an attempt of an introduction or something.

“Predator Reign” shows how some unresolved issues of the band are slowly getting into place, music wise or not. The record has achieved the standard of listenable production, with a pleasingly thick and stomping sound and without killing off parts (like the vocals, as it has happened before) or coming off as too loud and noisy. The drums also sound very nice and they have finally added a bit of colored to their beautiful artwork, as if they are somehow carving their own way.

To contradict the above, you will not hear the most innovative or most peculiar style of death metal here. In fact, as with their previous offerings, “Predator Reign” is again overpacked with death metal riffing and tasty solos, in the vein of the Florida scene and specifically, early Morbid Angel. Some of the riffs I can finally recognize and remember, like in the excellent tracks “Hellstorm”, “The Savage Covenant” and “Thousand Years Impale”, while the harsh vocals are monstrous, and I was very thankful about their stability in the whole of the album. Moreover, the first part of the last song “Clangor of Subjugation” features terrific guitarwork by the band, but the middle paced, monotonous ending (which they probably used to fade the album out and give a proper closure) could be cut and removed, making an otherwise good four-minute track.

The purpose of the band is not to discover something new and even though they deliver some traditional death metal, it’s obvious they’re trying to inject it with a personal touch and it’s a big plus that their music remains that hellish (“Annihilation Banner” is almost frenzy). While I don’t know how memorable “Predator Reign” is, it will not disappoint the fans who want a fully armed death metal record, which is also the best material the band has created to this date. From this, I will keep a few tracks in my player, as you can get an idea of the whole album from a couple of samples, but it’s generally above average, solid and does worth your time.

4/6