ZERO DEGREE, The Storm and the Silence  (2007, demo)

The skull:
Lo, did the Viking explorers set out for new lands, prepared to pillage and rape wherever the skull beacon would steer them. Through storm and silence they did sail, through hurricane they did struggle and lose several good men, through calmness did they lick their wounds and carry on. But the trip ended suddenly in the dark of night when each of the longships crashed into a glacier the size of Odin’s big toe. Wood was rent asunder; provisions were pitched into icy waters; most men drowned. The trip to Newfoundland, or the Carribean, or India, or wherever the fuck they thought¬† the skull was taking them, ended in total disaster, because the skull beacon was using a compass and didn’t
know how to read it for shit.

The music:
Here we were all strapped in and ready for some raw Viking-obsessed black metal, but no, these Germans play metal that sounds like modern-era Arch Enemy mixed with early In Flames. Given that, you can easily imagine what this is like without even hearing it. You get steady and technically good drumming that is also completely soulless; mostly mid-tempo bastardized Iron Maiden riffs, and moments of Helloweeny fun that are more than mid-tempo but not exactly laden with speed; and vocals that are interchangeable with any other modern band of this type. The bass guitar is subliminal, at best. So, as modern melodic death metal goes its neither the worst nor the best of the lot. Being that it’s modern melo-death, there’s very little it can do to match the atmosphere, energy, invention and wildness of the sub-genre’s good old days. It’s formulaic and safe. I’m not big on reunions, but it’s time for Eucharist to return and show bands like this how it’s done.
— Friar Wagner