Dies Irae Sculpture of Stone

Not related to Mexico’s Dies Irae (though oddly enough, that band penned a song entitled "Sculpted In Stone”), Poland’s Dies Irae first formed in 1992 around guitarist Mauser, who then joined the better-known Vader in 1997. Despite their strict side-project status, the current group, rounded out by Behemoth/Vader bassist/vocalist Novy, Sceptic guitarist Jacek Hiro, and former Vader drummer Doc, play customary death metal not unlike Vader. However, their slant on their fourth full-length, Sculpture of Stone, is more technical than Vader, abating some obvious comparisons. "Beyond All Dimensions” kicks off the album with standard, mid-paced death, but the adrenaline levels spike with "The Hunger,” which boasts searing solos from Mauser and Hiro, almost Yngwie Malmsteen-ish in delivery. "Unrevealed by Words” is almost industrial like Raunchy, with some Meshuggah references during the bridges. Novy’s gargle is like a cross between Cannibal Corpse-era Chris Barnes and Broken Hope’s Joe Ptacek. To wit, "The Art of an Endless Creation” could be taken from Broken Hope’s Grotesque Blessings sessions, but then "Trapped in the Emptiness” blows in the door with much faster, Morbid Angel-ic blast beats and blurred pickings. Doc cops the ride-cymbal-and-snare intro of Slayer’s "Criminally Insane” for "The Beginning of Sin,” where Novy growls one of his best performances, only fractionally eclipsed by the colossal title track, on which the band solidifies all their strengths to bring down the house. Dies Irae are definitely more varied than Vader, and Sculpture of Stone answers the Broken Hope beckoning call for many fans. (Metal Mind)