Reviews : Albums : Martial Barrage, "Call of the Serapeum"

Martial Barrage, "Call of the Serapeum"
Martial Barrage
Call of the Serapeum
Martial Barrage, "Call of the Serapeum"

Aside from the poor, muffled production sound, Martial Barrage’s Call of the Serapeum weighs in as a very serious black/death metal release. This trio from Manitoba crank out some truly catchy, fast and brutal blasphemy that reminds me a little of Morbid Angel or Angelcorpse, though with more of a black metal edge that makes the music more accessible somehow.

“Skirting Byzantium” kicks things off, and almost immediately the listener is greeted with a unique drum technique that feels like slippery acceleration. It’s a very strange way for the band to transition between slower and faster parts of a track, but Martial Barrage do it numerous times on the disc, and it ends up sounding peculiar, yet really cool (the closest thing I can think of that sounds even remotely like this is on Defleshed’s “Brakefailure” where the drums actually sound slippery too).

As Call of the Serapeum progresses, the blasting barrage fails to halt and the music for the most part stays solid and extremely easy to listen to. The title track has some cool chunky/brutal choruses, the whole of “Blot” slays, as does “Talvisota.” The short lived, yet utterly hyperactive “Below, Yet So Above” does a good job bringing us to full consciousness for the epic “Imperative Processional” and finally “From Behind Apis,” both of which close the disc out in a little less than utterly impressive fashion, though the latter does have its moments. In all, Martial Barrage has an impressive debut in Call of the Serapeum. Fans of Nile, Immolation, Morbid Angel and the like will probably find this disc full of one-of-a kind death metal nuances that could easily justify it finding its way into even the most respectable of brutal death metal collections.

Standout Tracks

   Skirting Byzantium
   Call of the Serapeum

Peter Johnston