Released independently on Thursday 24 February 2022.
For fans of Behemoth, Belphegor, Hate, Morbid Angel
This appears to be the week for one-man metal projects. Selfgod is the brain-child of Pittsburgh-based ex-Grisly Amputation, ex-Incinerate Creation, ex-Necrophagia, ex-Bloodwraith, ex-Automb, multi-instrumentalist, Serge Streltsov. On Born of Death (2022), the debut album for this project.
On my first listen to Born of Death, I got only a few minutes into “Fire czar” (track 1) before drawing comparisons with Floridan death metal legends, Morbid Angel—particularly how they trade relentless drum attacks with melancholic chord progressions. I was rather delighted when I later read the promo material that none other than Morbid Angel drummer Scotty Fuller covers drumming duties on this.
“Svarog’s steel” (track 2) is a brutal slab of blast beats beneath a simple guitar melody and gruff vocals. Standard death metal stuff. “God of self” (track 3) opens with a majestic, doom-laden riff that slowly creeps towards the songs inevitable end. Along with the opening track, this is one of my favourite songs on the album. There is a simple beauty to it. “Morena” (track 4) builds and gallops with a pleasing riff and tempo before letting loose with a wall of guitars and drums.
“Cosmic axis” (track 5) returns to the Morbid Angel school of death metal with a pleasingly human riff above a churning sea of kick drums blasts, where you can clearly hear Streltsov’s fingers scraping across the strings as he carves out the riff on his guitar.
“Weaver of time” (track 6) features one of the more complicated riffs on the album and the first time that an obvious guitar solo makes an appearance. This is a melancholic song that lurches and lunges sorrowfully. This is definitely in my top-three.
“Veles” (track 7) rumbles and rattles its way through a rather standard death-metal-by-numbers song structure only to surprise with a Celtic Frost-style section around three-quarters of the way in which completely lifts the song to another level. Wow!
“Sacrifice them (to the gods)” (track 8)” hooks a catchy riff around a tumult of drums and growling vocals. What it may lack in originality it more than makes up for in pleasing power and depth. Sometimes you just want to feel moved.
Album closer and title track “Born of death” (track 9) hits the ground running from the start, a swirling riff circling around Fuller’s powerful blasts. At 2′ 22″ it all suddenly stops, but only for a second before morphing into a relentless deluge of beats and growls before finding its riff again, and repeating the same until a sour-sounding guitar solo abruptly kills the song dead. This is a great album closer that leaves you wanting more.
I was a little sceptical when I first listened to this album that I would enjoy it, but I really should trust my instincts. The first couple of minutes of “Cosmic axis” had been what prompted me to want to review this album. I have really enjoyed listening to this and hope it joins Gorefest and Krysthla on my regular playlist. If you like your death metal a little blackened, definitely check out Selfgod.
Review score: 85%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Selfgod’s forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Selfgod. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Selfgod for continuing to create fresh, exciting black/death metal.