Berzerker Legion is a death metal quintet, consisting of seasoned musicians linked to some of the more renown bands in the metal scene hailing from all over Europe. This line-up is, as always in no particular order, formed by Tomas Elofsson (Hypocrisy, Sanctification, ex-In Battle, ex-God Among Insects) on guitar, Alwin Zuur (Asphyx, Grand Supreme Blood Court) on guitar, Jonny Pettersson (Syn:drom, Wombbath) as vocalist, Fredrik Isaksson (Dark Funeral, Excruciate, ex-Therion, ex-Grave) as bassist and James Stewart (Vader) on drums. The band has been around since 2016 and has recently, a week ago to be exact, released its debut full-length entitled Obliterate the Weak. Having a line-up like this should be a guarantee for a masterclass in death metal, something I couldn’t pass of course. Since these guys actually don’t need any further introduction I’ll skip all formalities and jump straight to the tunes.
If opener Rise of the Berzerkers is an indication of what is coming my way, I might be in for a treat. Not that the song itself is that special, it is a two-minute instrumental intro that is rather tame, which doesn’t stop it from building a bit of anticipation to what will be coming. The first noticeable thing, which only took a few seconds to reveal itself, is the production. Even in the first stretched tone it’s obvious this one is well above average production-wise. Nice, always helps enjoying the music and definitely improves the overall impression. Second in line is A World in Despair which is a pure death metal song with a nice old school vibe to it. It’s a great display of what the guys of Berzerker Legion are capable of with guitars and rhythm section competing for attention and the leading part, all supported by the at times filthy growling Jonny Pettersson. These guys seem to know exactly what they’re doing. Noblesse oblige of course, but transferring expectations to executing isn’t always an easy feat. Luckily for us Berzerker Legion’s members managed to do just that, because, careful spoilers ahead, this is a great piece of work.
Where the first two full songs of this release have a hint of speed in them, mostly due to the drums, the next couple of songs, starting with Of Blood and Ash and ending with The King of All Masters, are more slow without giving in to power. Each of these four songs has plenty to experience and is well worth your undivided attention. Especially the battle song sound-a-like Of Blood and Ash with its great guitar riff is bound to give you a serious neck ache. Gradually however, as these four songs progress they pick up a little speed and by the time Upon the Throne of Mortem explodes into your speakers, they’re back at speed once more. The album ultimately ends with an unnerving, haunting song called Death Euphoria in which the surprisingly different screams of Jonny particularly stand out.
Despite me mentioning a few highlights Obliterate the Weak is not an album where you can point out what piece, part or role distinguishes itself from the others, because each and every tone of this album is well above average. Whether it’s the varied yet tight drums, the relentlessly humming bass, the heavy, at times angry guitars or the growls that range from deep and dark to foul and insane, it’s all equally expertly executed and fused together into a coherent, organic but foremost heavy piece of work. Add to that a great production and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we are dealing with a gem here. Kudos to Berzerker Legion. Go buy this!