Soulreaper - _Written in Blood_
(Nuclear Blast, 2000)
by: Paul Schwarz (8.5 out of 10)
Just as my heart was sinking back into its dormant state after finding out that the new Morbid Angel and Nile albums will not be seeing daylight till Fall, this little beast found its way to my desk. Picking it from the usual pile of unknowns, and casually dumping it in my CD player, I was not hopeful of what was to come. "Darken the Sign"'s opening blast beating instantly changed my attitude, indicating Soulreaper were going to be well worth taking my time over. The rest of _Written in Blood_'s thirty-five minutes served amply in confirming this. Though pervaded by black metal beyond their armoured and grim-looking representation on _WiB_'s back cover, Soulreaper are for the most part a death metal band. Mentioning Morbid Angel earlier was not just me grinding a personal axe; Soulreaper are about as good a substitute for a new Morbid Angel album as one could hope for. MA's relentless assault is essentially the template for Soulreaper's approximation of musical annihilation, replete as it is with skull crushing riffing (at both break-neck and hammering mid-pace speeds), barbaric drumming and heaving, unheavenly vocals. The final product further draws very positive parallels with Aeternus' latest, shockingly violent outburst [CoC #45]. While all this may mean that Soulreaper do not have originality on their side, at the end of the day it isn't of too much consequence: _Written in Blood_ is a classy, violent little beast which provided (in the ever-depressing month of January when I originally received this) an invigorating reminder of what treasures another year in extreme music might bring.

(article published 5/25/2000)


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