Diocletian [New Zealand]
My introduction to Diocletian came with their 2010 full length release, War of All Against All, which left me rather overwhelmed, being one of the first few war metal bands that was discovered outside the usual Blasphemy and Conqueror. The band particularly left their mark with their epic, ambient closing track Fortress of the Unconquerable on the album, which was a unique yet suitable touch to the apocalyptic themes that were on the album. This year sees the band releasing their third full length album, Gesundrian under new home, Osmose Productions, and seeing the run of quality releases so far (from both the band and the label), this was certainly a release worth waiting for.
The band’s hunger and intent for war and destruction is immediately presented on opening track Cleaved Asunder, continuing the doom pace that Fortress of the Unconquerable ended War of All Against All complete with the crushing riffs of Atrociter and J. Baldwin. The apocalyptic soundscape that the band has created quickly reminds one of the recent Heresiarch release, Waelwulf or even Witchrist‘s dark style of death metal, leaving the listener devoid of any form of redemption. But as soon a Wolf Against Serpent begins, the band goes into full speed, and over here one is quickly reminded of classic war metal bands such as Blasphemy or Proclamation, with a more updated sound. The focus on the riffs in the playing style of Diocletian also brings about some resemblance to bands such as Conqueror, though there are also some of the chaotic moments, what with the pick-scratches and formless guitar solos, that are more akin to Revenge‘s grindish works.
Sound samples are also cleverly used throughout the album, fitting to the themes that Diocletian sought to propagate. For instance, opening track Cleaved Asunder makes full use of sounds of galloping war horses and the sounds a lone flag flapping to create that war-like backdrop of Diocletian‘s music.
Gesundrian: the causing of severance, harmony or disunity. Diocletian‘s quality violent and belligerent latest work has ensured that war has stirred, and any form of peace or calm has been torn asunder.