PRC Music (2012)
One country I haven’t listened to much metal from through the years would be Russia. So gaining the opportunity to hear this death metal act ply their wares in the form of their fifth album “Manifest Of Refusal” would be welcome to these ears. A five piece act willing to incorporate dual guitars and keyboards into the mix means we aren’t looking at a pure, straight ahead sound on these 9 tracks. Leonid’s keyboard accents are subtle but important- and Stalwart also allow the bass work from Demian play as prominent a role in terms of impact, most evident on the mid-tempo roller coaster arrangement for “Downgrade Evolution”.
Antuan and Leonid as guitarists often layer their riffing in such a way as to create the biggest emotional payoff- comfortably taking a series of crunchier rhythms to a crescendo and then laying down a serious head crushing part. Some of their best work appears on “Rise Of The Ninth Wave” and “It’s Just My Choice”- implementing the best of Meshuggah taken headlong into Australian/Swedish style melodic/tech death territory. Drummer Alex keeps the double bass kicks flowing, blasting one measure and then easily returning to a slam worthy groove during “Idol Of The Time” – which also features one of the more discernible Oleg Sobolevsky vocal deliveries.
Technique plus careful scrutiny does wonders when creating an original death metal act. “Manifest Of Refusal” separates itself from the pack because the musicianship soars without succumbing to excessive madness. Stalwart keep the Djent-math metal Olympics to the bare essentials, and as a result should gain a healthy amount of admiration from the European and North American metal followers.
Rating: 4 / 6
Composed by Matt Coe