On Centinex‘s ninth full length Doomsday Rituals, the band plays nothing but good old reliable death metal. This genre has seen many faces through the years and more recently has seen a number of thrilling bands that bend the rules as well as push the boundaries well beyond anything that has come before. All of which is is good for any genre and needs to be done for growth. However, when an album comes along that holds its history near and dear it gives the old guard something to get excited about and new fans a dose of the essential beginnings.
Sweden’s Centinex got its start in 1990, when the death metal landscape had found its footing but still offered a vast landscape for fans far and wide to explore. They’ve survived a literal who’s who list of revolving members, a disbanding in 2006, and a lukewarm reception to their 2014 comeback album Redeeming Filth. It did lack some of the punch of previous works and the production wasn’t great but it was still quality death metal that owed much to the past. And again, this is not a bad thing particularly in the right hands. It’s a coming home of sorts to hear something current that makes a fan reminiscent of their own metal roots.
This is where Centinex hit a sweet spot, while they aren’t doing anything new or trying to knock any walls down they are exceptional at riding the classic, Floridian death metal wave. And thankfully for this album the punch mentioned earlier is back. The glaring example of this is in the gut thumping percussion of “The Shameful Few”. It recalls the immense thunder in the drumming on a Kataklysm album — that war dance sound and the quick but heavy blast beats. Not to mention those jagged but burly riffs lurking just around every beat. But really this same down and dirty sound carries throughout the entire album.
Obviously there’s going to be some reference points to the wild punk sound of old school Swedeath (“From Intact To Broken”, “Sentenced To Suffer”) as over the years they have more than proven their abilities with the Swedish sound. But the band’s strong suit has always been in the lurching slow to mid paced style of US death metal and they don’t stray from that formula here. Pulling cues from Obituary and more to the point from Jungle Rot, the undeniable groove of “Generation Of Flies” may very well be their best yet. In addition, the Glen Bentonesque vocals from Alexander Högbom (“Dismemberment Supreme”) and the simple anthemic lyrical phrases throughout plant the listener squarely back in the 90’s but with better production that results in an altogether bigger, fuller sound. It’s a win-win if there ever was one.
Not counting the band’s extended hiatus Centinex has been around for 26 years, long enough to be damn good at this death metal thing. On Doomsday Rituals there’s no flashy playing or genre bending time changes and they definitely don’t reinvent the genre or do anything to progress it. But sometimes, as they’ve proved here, plain old meat and potatoes death metal does the trick extremely well. Plus they keep the glory of yesteryear alive and well for the generation of metalheads that were unfortunately born too late.