State of Deceit – Stalked by Daemons
Release Date: 13/10/23
Running Time: 42:02
Review by Paul Hutchings
Anyone familiar with the South Wales metal scene should be fully aware of State of Deceit. Regular challengers in the finals of the Metal to the Masses events, the band has been delivering their brand of metal for several years. Do a quick search in the excellent Musipedia of Metal site and you’ll find numerous reviews of their explosive live shows. There’s also reference to their 2019 EP “Retribution” which earned a fine 9/10 from me. There’s plenty about the band.
“Stalked by Daemons” is their debut long player, if that term still exists in these digital times. It’s a powerful slab of contemporary metal, throwing in thrash, groove, and metalcore in an unholy melting pot of riffs, gruff growls and the occasional soaring clean vocal. In summary, it’s an album that screams “METAL” from the rooftops, and one can only wonder why you wouldn’t like this in part, even if not every track grabs you by the scrotum.
Whilst there are many influences on display, including Machine Head, Lamb of God, and Trivium to name just three, there is plenty of originality stamped across the ten tracks. State of Deceit possesses a ferocity that combines with a delicious serving of melody, a combination that works well. Vocalist Pete Scammell has developed over the past few years in the live setting, and here he barks his delivery with a savageness that drills directly to the marrow.
Dive into the opening bars of ‘Endure my Fate’, a snarling, feverish piledriver and ideally suited album opener, and you’ll get the essence of this band in a four-minute blast. After that, you can either choose to sit back and allow the aural onslaught to crush you in your chair or begin stretching for the inevitable charge around the room, for this is an album that screams “circle pit”. Huge riffs, chugging rhythm, and a ringmaster who conducts the pace with his roar, ‘Endure my Fate’ is what we call “a banger”.
As one might imagine, there isn’t a ballad locked away within “Stalked with Daemons”. There is an onslaught of addictive, driving metal that throws out those influences with aplomb. It’s difficult to see how you can’t appreciate State of Deceit if you are a fan of Pantera, Trivium, and KSE. The chainsaw chug of the guitars on ‘Stalked by Daemons, Guarded by Angels’ along with the clean harmonies on the choruses work well.
State of Deceit deliver a ferocity that rarely eases, but they do drop into the metalcore style on occasion. ‘Hate Within’ starts with the kind of melodic intro expected before an eruption of fiery blasts combined with more cleans and changes in tempo show the hybrid approach of the band. It’s an opportunity for Gareth Jones to add some classy lead work, which he does as the band ease into almost traditional metal country. It’s one of the more complex tracks on the album, with the gravel-throated Scammell bringing his A game to the party. He must have needed those throat lozenges at the end of this. In contrast, ‘Withered’ is a nasty punch to the face, with a bruising riff and a rabble-rousing pace. ‘Mark of the Whale’ is the offspring of an unholy union between Trivium and Amon Amarth, a strange beast that surprisingly works with some ease.
As the album plays out, there is little to criticise. The production is sound, thanks in part to Tim Hamill who does a stellar job. It’s also an album that showcases why State of Deceit are so well regarded. Savage, but controlled from start to finish, this is an album that anyone who enjoys big chunky riffs should enjoy. If not, you may be on the wrong site.
01. Endure my Fate
03. Stalked by Daemons, Guarded by Angels
04. Hate Within
06. Mark of the Whale
09. At What Cost?
10. Digital Tattoo
Jon Russell – Rhythm Guitar
Gareth Jones – Lead Guitar
Pete Scammell – Vocals
Davide Santini – Bass
Matthew Toner – Drums
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