Diocletian War of All Against All

The best thing about this second slab of New Zealand black/death/doom from Diocletian is the production; it's ugly stuff, way raw and loose, definitely creating a great natural vibe. And it works wonders on tunes like almost title track "All Against All," with its militaristic blasting, which sounds excellent, and album highlight "Kingdom of Rats," a noisy, feedback-drenched black/death tune that skirts war, considers going nuclear and comes in just this side of unlistenable rubbish. Throughout, the drumming is a highlight; it's all fills all the time, not skilled as much as hopelessly enthusiastic. Song titles like "Nuclear Vomited" rule. Tracks like "Might is Right" and long-doom-crawl-home closer "Fortress of the Unconquerable" slow things down to a snail's pace, creating breathing room that works well, helping break down the inevitable, yet satisfying, fatigue that kicks in after 20 minutes of music this single-mindedly intense. (Invictus)