By Keith Carman
For those keeping tabs, it’s been a measly six years since Swedish death metal beasts Sanctification released their debut effort Misanthropic Salvation. That’s over a half-decade to get the nine tracks that comprise Black Reign together, refined, perfected and blasted out. Strange then, that after so much time, the overall affair would wind up so basic. While there’s no lack of unbridled aggression and combative, malicious intent, the prevailing aura is one of a band intent on reiterating their adoration for the likes of Deicide, Hate Eternal and a few of the more obvious homeland death metal acts such as Entombed et al. Naturally, it’s wonderful that they’ve managed to stray away from over-writing, a tendency that can occur when given so much extra time to tweak and mull over tracks. Forgetting the woulda, shoulda, coulda syndrome, Black Reign does feature some pretty crushing and rather gargantuan grinds for the most part. From the pummelling double kick to vocalist Magnus “Masse” Broberg’s gut-tearing bellows, it’s a thunderous, relentless effort that doesn’t fail to deliver. Still, a few more provocative breakdowns, inciting choruses and blind-siding verses would have given this affair that much more gusto, propelling it from a good, solid affair to an unequalled masterpiece.