If you don’t know what to expect from a Memoriam album by now, you’re either in denial, shell-shocked or dead.
Recap: When British institution BOLT THROWER disbanded in early 2016, no-one dared dream that a super group or successor might be just around the corner, let alone that their consciousness might live on and inhabit a new form. However, the signature sound of these musicians DOES live on and it lives on via Memoriam!
After steadily eclipsing previous releases – culminating in 2019’s masterful Requiem For Mankind – Memoriam‘s latest bruising collection marks the beginning of a second trilogy of albums, with To The End serving as something of a prologue to the first three Memoriam releases.
“Onwards Into Battle” is a huge opener; ably building the mood for the entire album and its slow, heavy, destructive nature is as strong an intro as you’d hope for. Conceptually, we’re in World War I territory (obvs) with Karl Willets’ throaty bellow demanding we march “onwards into battle….one more time” sounding as stupendously heavy as ever.
Unsurprisingly, there’s no huge surprises here as Memoriam‘s distinctive sound and approach hasn’t been unceremoniously fucked with (which is good!).
That being said, the twin guitar attack of “No Effect” pulls Memoriam into the modern age and ramps up To The End‘s overall pace and sheen. Alternatively, “Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)” is as death/doom as they come, with Memoriam playing slower than ever and emulating the crushing power of prime Candlemass and Trouble in the process. It’s also fucking brilliant!
There’s even a nod to the industrialised, tribal, punk-clatter of Killing Joke on “Mass Psychosis”, with Karl Willets channeling the shamanic roar of Jaz Coleman with ease. It’s a highpoint, that’s for sure.
Topping Requiem For Mankind was always going to be a big ask but To The End is arguably the finest moment of Memoriam‘s career to date. Honouring their collective past – while forging stridently into the future – these four seasoned musicians show no signs of slowing down [except on “Each Step (One Closer To The Grave)”] and To The End is merely the next step in Memoriam’s ongoing evolution.
Cannon fodder take heed, Memoriam‘s To The End is all you need! 8/10
Memoriam‘s To The End was released on 26th March 2021 via Reaper Entertainment.
Karl Willetts – vocals (ex-Bolt Thrower) / Frank Healy – bass (Sacrilege, ex-Benediction, ex-Napalm Death) / Spikey T Smith – drums (Sacrilege, ex-English Dogs, Conflict, ex-Killing Joke Live) / Scott Fairfax – guitars (Massacre, As The World Dies, ex-Benediction live)