"Now you will kneel before us all", spews the vitriol from the mouth of sadistic growler Odhinn Sandin on "The Multitude" from "Kingdom of Fear", the fourth album from Sweden's IN BATTLE. I could not think of a more apt lyric to describe the attitude on display here. This is about as in your face as it gets, the 11 molten death metal tracks delivered as though the band fully intends to destroy anyone in its path.
In constant attack mode, the unit tears through song after song of unbridled death metal with slivers of black metal in some of the guitar parts. Drummers Nils Fjellström absolutely destroys his kit with the kind of blast beats and double bass assaults that wreck the nerves and rattle the teeth. At times the group's approach on the album reminds me of the havoc wreaked by the lethal war metal played by bands like Australia's ABOMINATOR and New Zealand's DAWN OF AZAZEL, although the sound of IN BATTLE remains grounded in vintage Swedish death metal. Giving the disc a few extra spins allows one to calm down after the initial body blow and identify the nuances in the songwriting. As relentless as it seems, there are some dynamics at work here, whether the coloration in the drumming or the compositional changeups. Along with the multitude of speed killers, the band slows it down a bit on tracks like "Follow the Allfather" and "The Wandering One", the latter offering one of several blazing guitar solos heard on the disc.
Mostly "Kingdom of Fear" beats the listener senseless and moves on to the next victim. Melody is mostly an afterthought, although there are some memorable moments on a group of songs that are smartly arranged for maximum impact. There is nothing fancy or groundbreaking here, just skillfully performed and violent death metal from a group that plays it like it means it.