"Contra Rationem"

By Thrash-head

After spending more than a decade under a different moniker ("Nox") due to a lineup change and supposed change in musical direction, Centurian decided to change their name back to reflect the fact that in all actuality, they really were always Centurian all along.

Hailing from the Netherlands, to say these guys have always had a sound that distinguishes them from their Dutch counterparts is an incredible understatement. Their homeland still harbors a strong history of the battles and wars that have been fought on it's soggy soil, so understandably the majority of bands hailing from the Netherlands tend to be of a brutal, militaristic ilk. On the flipside, Centurian has always been a bit more sinister, evil, and technically precise in it's death metal offerings. If you need a point of reference, it's firmly in the ballpark of Behemoth and Krisiun, but the closest point of sonic reference/influence has always been and still remains Morbid Angel, even down to the tone and delivery of Rob Oothuis' slithering guitar lines. The tracks contained herein have that influence in spades, as any opening riff could have easily come off "Covenant" back in the day.

 It's not to say that Centurian is a straight-up Morbid Angel clone though, as those swaying, almost impossible-to-headbang-to lines often give way for straight-up blastfests courtesy of Seth Van de Loo (also the insanely talented drummer of Severe Torture, and former vocalist of Centurian), and occasionally Rob does through in something of an evil arpeggiated pattern a la Nergal to break up the pace a little (see beginning of "Damnatio Memoriae"). New vocalist - and holdover from the Nox project - Niels Adams is an incredibly versatile larynx-shredder with a very throaty delivery that totally suits the riffage to a T. His screams, while not altogether black metal, tend to be very harsh and gravelly and blend perfectly with his deeper snarl.

In all honestly, this is not the most original thing you've ever heard. But if I know death metal aficionados, it's less about originality and more about sheer delivery, which is something Centurian has mastered. I'd probably recommend a slightly crisper mixjob next time around to help the band stand apart from it's evil Floridian influence a bit more next time around, but all the same, this release is flat-out solid!Kudos!