Deuteronomium and Immortal Souls are the last of the old guard of Finnish death metal, both bands outlasting their peers because they are really good at what they do. This double disc is poorly titled, because it is not just a reissue of the 4 song Tribal Eagle ep, but includes both of Deuteronomium’s demos Paths of Righteousness and Crosshope and songs culled from each of the band’s albums, much like the Once Upon a Time In the North disc that Immortal Souls put out some time ago to satisfy fans who couldn’t find their earlier material.
If you wish to hear the band’s material in chronological order, you’ll have to start with the Paths of Righteousness demo (1993)- tracks 15-19 on disc 1. The band’s musical career began as a slow but credible facsimile of Mortification. The music is good, but the source material was poor, as you can hear tape hiss rising and falling in volume. The Crosshope (1996) demo is found on disc 2 and represents the next era of the band’s growth. Recording quality is much better, death metal growls are lower, and the Mortification influence meets a heavy rhythm section ala the Mexican band Lament and acoustic interludes like Seventh Angel. Lead singer Miika Partala has always been known for switching back and forth between gutteral death metal growls and deep clean vocals.
Next, we get to the Tribal Eagle ep (1997)- tracks 1-4 on disc 1. My guess would be that this material is presented first because it is the time where the band really came into its own sound and started making a name for themselves with their infamous death ‘n roll. There is less of a doom influence, and more speed, double bass drumming, and sonic clarity. Even a song like “Crosshope” that we heard on the last demo is vastly improved. The title track “Tribal Eagle” is a real stand out cut and shows Miika going back and forth between Sim Wilson (Undercover) type vocals and snarling death machine, amidst some meaty axework.
“Northern Praise” and the mighty “Spell of Hell” are pulled from Street Corner Queen (1998), the first full length D album. “Northern Praise” features Miika trading vocals with a female singer on an extreme metal praise song that sticks in your head long after it’s over. “Spell of Hell” is a much requested concert favorite that actually veers into black metal territory, almost sounding like 2 different vocalists. If you’ve ever wondered what a metal version of Billy Idol would sound like- D’s feisty cover of One Bad Pig’s “Red River” is it. A very different take on one of OBP’s best songs. “To Die and Gain” is the sole representation from Here to Stay (1999). “3:16” and “Defending the Faith” represent The Midst of Battle (2008) and not a beat is missed,
despite the gap in time. 2009’s Retaliatory Strike ep is skipped, and then we jump to Deathbed Poetry (2011) with the excellent “Solitude” where drums, guitars, and death metal vox all vie for your attention. “Seven Critical Days” is reminiscent of “Spell of Hell” with its black metal influences. Then we come to the band’s most recent, but hopefully not last album The Amen (2013) and excellent cuts singing about Jesus, “The Nazorean” and my favorite Deuteronomium song of all “Jehovah Sabaoth.” “Holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…” growls Miika. I often make mention of the extreme metal worship movement currently going on within Christian metal, and I’d like to point the finger right back to D for initiating it. This double disc whets my appetite for new Deuteronomium music. It’s been awhile, but the band has gone on hiatus several times and come back strong, so I’m not worried. Pick up this cd. The earlier material will appeal more to true fans, but by including essentially a greatest hits collection, they are sure to attract new fans. I would have put both demos on disc 2, but it’s a petty annoyance. (EM Distro) 4 out of 5 stars