It is quite stunning what difference a very good drummer can make. Death (the band) became from merely a death metal band a very technical death metal band on account of drummers like Gene Hoghlan and Richard Christy. Yngwie Malmsteen's best post-"Odyssey" albums are those with Mike Terrana on it. And Old Man's Child's best albums are those with good death/black metal drummers on it. "Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion" had Gene Hoghlan, and the new one ("In Defiance of Existence") has Dimmu Borgir's Nicholas Barker on it. The album in between, "Revelation 666", was OK but simply not as good (it had Tjodalv and another dude whose name I couldn't decipher on drums).

"In Defiance of Existence" kicks off with a typical Old Man's Child style track, "Felonies of the Christian Art" (sic). Of the nine tracks there are in fact only two that are 'merely OK' ("Life Deprived" and "The Soul Deceiver"). All the other tracks have some of the best riffs to have come out of Galder's twisted brain so far, with Barker's drums adding those whole magnificent layer of drumming excellence. When Galder joined Dimmu Borgir I read in an interview that he was still obliged to make a couple of more Old Man's Child albums for Century Media to fulfil his contract. I concluded that these further albums would therefore be obligatory work, not inspired. I thought they would suck. As it turned out, my fears were needless. "In Defiance of Existence" is a very strong album that is one of my first favourites of 2003!

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Written February 2003


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