The Great Deceiver - _A Venom Well Designed_
(Peaceville, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
The Great Deceiver: present day Katatonia meets a harsh mixture of metal and industrial sounds with a slight At the Gates twang, twisted and delivered in a sound all their own. This may be far from accurate, but The Great Deceiver are certainly a tough customer when it comes to pigeonholing them into a specific genre or sound. The Great Deceiver is another of ex-At the Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg's endeavours, and also includes the musical talents of Diabolique guitarist and well-known graphical artist Kristian Wahlin. Most of the At the Gates influence that I mentioned above does come from the simple fact that we get to hear Lindberg's irreproachable vocals -- every bit as full of venom, despair and passion as before --, but the spirit behind a track like AtG's "The Burning Darkness" also comes to mind at times during _A Venom Well Designed_. But it is a sound far from death metal that the listener finds here, with structures and, to a certain degree, bleakness akin to Katatonia. It is a modern sound, where tastefully arranged melody is interspersed with hard-hitting riffs and repetitive drum patterns, all of it communicated through an artificial-sounding (though not in a bad way) guitar and drum sound. Well thought-out guitar effects play a very important role throughout, giving The Great Deceiver more than a touch of uniqueness, as the lead guitar often becomes more of a synthetized sound. This is an emotional disc for the most part, though not displaying the frailty in Katatonia's sound -- it is harder, but nevertheless mostly doom-based, even if not in the traditional sense. The Great Deceiver have managed to create something rather unique and certainly enjoyable, though I must say Lindberg's help in the shape of vocals and lyrics is a substantial part of their success -- not that the rest of the music is poor, but I suspect it would be difficult for it to work so well with another vocalist. Some of the tracks become a tad repetitive and fail to add much to the album, but others like "Pierced", "The Living End" (At the Gates, anyone?), "Poisoned Chalice", "Enter the Martyrs", "Arsenic Dreams" and "Strychnine" contain just the right mix of harshness and catchiness to raise the disc to a very high quality level. Give The Great Deceiver a chance with an open mind, and I doubt you will regret it.

(article published 9/1/2002)


ALBUMS
5/18/2004 P Azevedo 7 The Great Deceiver - Terra Incognito
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