Scent of Death – Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate

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Review by Jason Guest

Pathologically Explicit Recordings

Yes, the album title does look wrong. Yes, it’s grammatically incorrect. A minor gripe you might think but with the high level of attention paid to every aspect of their music, you’d have thought that Spain’s Scent of Death would’ve spell-checked their own album title. Anyway, this brutal bunch has been churning out technical death metal since 1998 and so, before you read any further, you pretty much know what to expect. Ridiculously intense throughout, with enough complex and manic riffs, huge chugging chops, absurdly fast drumming, and gravel-gargling vocals all over it, this isn’t going to win any awards for originality.

In terms of ability, this is a beast of a band. Guitarists Jorge and Bernardo know their way around the fretboard and how to string together riff after riff with an ear for development; drummer Rolando “demolition man” Barros shows why he earned his nickname and fills every hole he can find with a clicky kick or furious fill; vocalist Sergio M. Afonso does a suitably aggressive job; and bassist Carlos, well, he’s in there somewhere I think. As with most tech death releases, the bottom end is given over to the drums and whatever hard work the bassist has put in goes missing. Together, Scent of Death is a crushing quintet; like every other tech death troupe out there, they are a ruthless, remorseless, and unwavering machine.

As for songwriting, ‘Awakening Of The Liar’ starts off promising enough with its impressive riffing, deftly-handled time and feel changes, and noteworthy lead work, but with ‘The Enemy of My Enemy’ the cracks begin to appear. The riffs are again impressive, the time and feel changes are handled deftly, and the lead work is noteworthy. ‘Ego Te Provoco’ features some impressive riffing, deftly-handled feel and time changes, and, well, you see where this is going. With the first three songs, Scent of Death quickly prove themselves as equals amongst the mechanical mass of adroit engineers of precisely executed death metal. But from ‘Feeling The Fear’ through to closer ‘Sear Me In A Sea Of Snakes’, Scent of Death re-tread the ground already laid out.

Ferocious to the core, this is an enjoyable listen, yet not one of the tracks stand out as unique or exceptional. Yep, the standard is pretty high but that standard is a flat line with little in the way of dynamic variation. Everything is on full. Always. At all times. Non-stop. And because there’s very little fluctuation, the album compels few repeat listens. Okay, so they chuck in the occasional interesting passage here and there but besides the atypical instrumental ‘The Sleeper Must Awake’, it’s just too samey for its own good. If you like Nile, Suffocation, and Morbid Angel (before they were shit), then give this a blast. It’ll tick the boxes, for a while at least.

Scent of Death – Of Martyrs's Agony and Hate6 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Awakening Of The Liar
  2. The Enemy Of My Enemy
  3. Ego To Provoco
  4. Feeling The Fear
  5. A Simple Twist Of Fate
  6. Man Kills God Too
  7. The Father’s Sins
  8. The Sleeper Must Awake
  9. Sear Me In A Sea Of Snakes