DEATH SS – Rock ‘N’ Roll Armageddon

DEATH SS - Rock 'N' Roll Armageddon
  • 5/10
    DEATH SS - Rock 'n' Roll Armageddon - 5/10


Label: High Roller Records
Release date: July 12, 2019

User Review
6/10 (1 vote)

If the contents of this album were anything less shouty than a Trump rally (they’re not), the record company could rest assured that the accompanying puff piece would make up for the lack of volume. The almost hysterical way in which it laments Rock ‘n’ Roll Armageddon’s lack of exposure is, depending on your point of view, either rather touching or profoundly irritating.

Metal fans prepared to consider both possibilities will find such an approach adequate preparation for the music that follows. In truth, this is a divisive listen that plays out like a strange coupling between gothic metal and a Scooby-Doo soundtrack.

Opener “Black Soul” is a fair indication of what’s to follow. Funereal organ and dark mass chanting give way to a sludgy vocal that communes with a suitably dusty-lunged chorus. Naturally, the standard lyrical tropes of despair are present as the track builds to a doom-laden conclusion.

The problem is that if this platter should, as “figurehead” Steve Sylvester suggests, be seen as a snapshot of the tumultuous political epoch in which we live, then the tendency to use language that sounds like it’s been culled from a splatter movie shooting script (mid-album shocker “Zombie Massacre” is a prime example) leaves the lasting impression that DEATH SS’s reach exceeds their grasp.

Ironically, the album gets better when the band leave most of the pantomime theatricality behind and concentrate on heavy metal staples. “Fourth Reich” (not a celebration of fascism – quite the opposite in fact) and “Promised Land” have a spark of musical excitement about them, and “Your Life Is Now”, with its harmonica intro, is a real surprise package.

Such pacing is, alas, squandered by less essential numbers such as “The Glory of the Hawk”, which sounds for all the world like a gothic metal tribute to “House of the Rising Sun.”

Fans of Mercyful Fate, King Diamond and others will doubtless find something to enjoy here, but for the rest, it’s likely to be seen as a little too close to a camp musical with hi-gain guitars.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Armageddon is available on High Roller Records.


  • Dan Whittle

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been a music fan since his mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 5. That she introduced him is no real guide to whether he could play it, "as anyone who had the misfortune to hear my hamfisted plonking would readily testify," says Dan. Abandoning his nascent career as a pianist, he turned, instead, to listening to as many albums as he could lay his hands on. The first, halting steps, were of the novelty record variety; but gradually he found his niche. After a brief, abortive flirtation with indie, he heard Clutching at Straws by Marillion and that was it. These days his tastes are on the catholic side, but whiling away a few hours listening to ambitious guitar music (especially of the progressive variety) is still amongst his favorite activities.   Oh, and if anyone's wondering, he did learn the piano and the guitar in the end...

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