DECEIVER, Riding With the Reaper (2005, Iron Fist Productions)

The skull:
Barely makes it into the Skullection due to its puny size, although its place upon a chopping block (at least, we want to assume it’s a chopping block) and the flames licking in the background entice and seduce us. There seem to be pins in the right cheekbone of the skull…someone met their fate at the hands of a mad acupuncturist? Nah, probably too holistic of a thing for a band like Deceiver to consider.

The music:
Deceiver plays what music scribe Simon Reynolds describes as “music about music.” That is, music that’s totally referential and utterly derivative in nature. Some metalheads like that. I tend to shy away from it. Regardless of personal prejudices, if you’re an Iron Maiden fan who cannot get enough of the ’80s German thrash metal wave, worship the Possessed/Slayer template, and like ’90s bands such as Defleshed and Aura Noir, and also¬†go for fourth generation death/thrash, and understand that Nifelheim remains authentic above all others, then by all means indulge! Still, they’re no Nifelheim, despite them desperately trying to be. Being Swedish alone won’t get you there. But they’re broken up already, so who cares?

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