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Review of the Album "Semper Pessimus" by Northern Ireland’s Thrash Metal Band Acid Age

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Acid Age is a thrash metal band from Belfast, Northern Ireland and they have been around since 2013. Their 3rd studio album Semper Pessimus is described as a ten song concept about the Roman Emperor Nero and his struggles.

About the Musical and Vocal Style of "Semper Pessimus"

The vocals are of death metal style so these guys could be considered a hybrid of death metal and thrash metal. Acid Age refers to their music as hyper thrash. Whatever that kind of categorization actually means, the album is full of passages that have that fret less bass kind of style which was basically popularized in the early portions of the 1990s. It is actually nice to see that there are bands that are trying to carry on the legacy of the bands that allowed them to be created. Acid Age being from Belfast would technically be considered a British metal band because Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. Semper Pessimus is one of those albums that has that progressive death metal style to it in addition to raw guitar sounds so in that sense it is both modern with a touch of the older metal style. Semper Pessimus is an album that is overall well thought out and planned in terms of the melodies and bass guitar style

"The Burning of Rome"

"Semper Pessimus" Analysis of the Songs

“The Banquet of the Dead” features a really nice exotic guitar part with the fret less bass style and this is definitely influenced by the albums Human and Focus. Focus is the 1993 studio album by the Florida based progressive death metal band Cynic. Some of you may think it is cheesy for a metal band to have a ten track concept album but at least in this case, it is about Nero who was a real life person that actually lived and occupied a very significant part of Roman history as opposed to being some fictional character in a Harry Potter movie. The strongest songs in this ten song album are the first three including the mentioned “Banquet of the Dead” which shows the creativity of these British guys. “Slave Girl” is one of those songs that may give you the chills just because of how intense sounding it is. The main riff is similar to the song “The Rush” by the band Annihilator and there is still that bass play which can clearly be heard among the other instruments being played. ‘Death of Octavia” is a song that has a very raw kind of guitar sound to it followed by a scream in the beginning and the rough vocal growls so you’ve got two different vocal styles in one song. The one aspect that hurts this album and prevents it from getting an elite score is the vocals which are rough but too difficult to comprehend and understand what is being said. Normally, an album with bad vocals would really ruin the songs but that’s not what happens in this album. This is at least partially because of the first song “The Shameless Lyre” which lyrically tells the story of the rise of Nero as his joy soon turned into resentment. The song also has a good drum solo in it so that’s a good way to start off the album. Also, we don’t need another band that basically mirrors the vocal style of the band Avulsed just because vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Jude McIlwaine cannot somehow try to replace some of the other better rough vocalists in the genre.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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