The Fifth Alliance: Death Poems

Beautiful and barbarous verses from the Netherlands

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Whereas their 2013 debut Unrevealed Secrets Of Ruin opted for shorter, harsher statements, the four overtures on Death Poems give The Fifth Alliance’s ideas more time to evolve into some truly captivating moments.

Going from the ethereal chimes and Silvia Berger’s hypnotic vocals, 11-minute-long opener Your Abyss gradually builds to a windswept canvas of dissonant harmonies, melancholic textures and tortured screams before being swallowed into the earth through drawn-out riffs and Ashwin Marapengopie’s propulsive drumming.

Fall Of Taira is built around a simple guitar melody, while the title track’s unsettling chords, doomy riffs and ponderous pace are never anything less than distressing, with the vocals seemingly conjured from some dark, personal torment.

Even the acoustic intro to the closing track sounds ominous, however Dissension sees slivers of light peering through the more metallic overtones and brief full-throttle barrage. Just over half an hour of intense, thought-provoking musical catharsis may prove too much for many, but fans of Neurosis, Deafheaven and Deftones will find plenty to immerse themselves in.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.