Diocletian – Gesundrian

It has been an absolute pleasure to witness Diocletian increase in intensity and skill over this last decade. Never ones to sacrifice speed and order for outright brutality, Diocletian have always been methodical in their approach to extreme metal. Each riff, groove, and transition meticulously crafted. Master musicians of precision and the steadfast assertion that instrumental prowess trumps ideological or atmospheric cliche. This is war metal. Fast. Explicit. Unrelenting. No hostages. No mercy.

In the four years since War of All Against All, Diocletian have released one (long overdue) compilation, a split, and a live recording that sounds as rigorous and tight as any studio effort. (What other war/bestial death band has the chops to have put out a live recording? Black Witchery comes to mind — but sounds nowhere near as proficient.) Now arrives Gesundrian. The name derives from the same Anglo-Saxon root word that gave us the modern day verb ‘to sunder’, to split apart. The act of sundering begins with Cleaved Asunder, a war-march that gathers momentum over a din of clashing steel and bone. It is the slowest and most atmospheric piece on the album, replete with lyrics that speak of apocalypse and cosmic annihilation.

Cleaved asunder by the scimitar of titans… Celestial bodies disassembled piece by piece, super massive black holes engulfing time, chain reactions of super novae… The universe untangled, disintegration, Galaxies like dominos collapse… Whom begat creation it shall now be undone, in the eternal depths of this silent darkness

What follows is half an hour of irreproachable extreme metal. Diocletian are on the bleeding edge (or should I say sundered edge?) of extreme metal in 2014. Their instrumental dexterity never eclipses their ability to deliver varied and engaging compositions. Gesundrian is rich with wicked riffs. From the bass-driven gauntlet that is Steel Jaws, to the groove-laden assault of Traitor’s Gallow, through the melodic inclination of Wolf Against Serpent (is that a little Swe-death influence seeping through?!), Gesundrian successfully avoids the tunnel vision of other technically ambitious acts. It’s not that Diocletian are bringing anything new to extreme metal — there’s nothing progressive or experimental about Gesundrian. It’s just faster, fiercer, stronger.

War and bestial metal have lost their standing as the supreme embodiment of barbarism and savagery on tape. Passing off a wall of noise and a slightly off-sync drummer as the primeval ideal just won’t cut it anymore. So while Teitanblood’s influence is spawning clones the world over, hellbent on reclaiming the reptile-brain as their own, Diocletian’s throne remains usurper-free. Nobody is playing war metal as fast, as accurate, or as devastating.

Purchase from Osmose.

Sublime cover art painting for Gesundrian by the Italian master, Paolo Giradi.

You'll find me in the vast wilderness of British Columbia, talking metal at LURKER, or working in publishing and front-end web/eBook development.

3 Comments

  • Reply June 18, 2014

    Simon

    I’m not too much into the whole bestial war metal thing, but these guys don’t sound too shabby at all. Probably helps that like Axis of Advance they aren’t as cartoony in their overall aesthetic and are more technically accomplished than is usual for the style.

  • Reply July 31, 2014

    BreadGod

    I fucking love this album. This is easily one of the best releases of the year.

  • Reply September 5, 2014

    Butts McGee

    I am more looking for feedback on this comment than anything, but to me this album is a huge departure from Diocletian’s past, and it makes sense, seeing as the line up includes all new musicians, save the drummer.(Citing Metal Archives, maybe they just changed their names?). I like Diocletian because they are muddled yet distinct, dirty and violent, beautifully meshing marches with speed, and most distinctly the dirty vocals deep within the mix. And while Gesundrian contains a lot of this, the band is not what they were, IMHO. I don’t quite understand how Diocletian is still even called Diocletian.

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