"Terra Incognito" (Peaceville; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Formed immediately after the unfortunate split of At The Gates, The Great Deceiver set out to make hardcore in their own image. If you've had any experience listening to The Great Deceiver you probably already know that the band doesn't play hardcore like most people are familiar with it. Rather, The Great Deceiver play a modern update of hardcore with a very deliberate pacing (read 'slow') and an emphasis on dynamics.

As many of you know Tomas Lindberg has covered many styles since the demise of At The Gates. Lindberg brings his trademark rasp to these mid-paced, riff-heavy hardcore styled songs with the same kind of aggression albeit in a bit more controlled way. Those of you looking for speed and unadulterated aggression of The Crown, Lock Up and/or Nightrage will need to look elsewhere.

Sparse guitar adorns the songs during the verses, steady riffing highlights the choruses, and electronic elements throughout provide the disc with an otherworldly vibe that is very unique to the band. To call it eclectic or weird would be too much but it does stray from the mainstream enough to require a little more attention and focus upon the first dozen spins or so. I like bands and albums that take me somewhere different and The Great Deceiver definitely do things a little bit differently than most.

"Terra Incognito" is a consistent effort from track one ("Today") through track ten ("Worm Of Truth"). The bottom line is that "Terra Incognito" does not differ all that much from their previous effort, "A Venom Well Designed." In many ways I prefer "Venom" to "Terra," but "Terra Incognito" does a great job leaving the band's signature style intact. The Great Deceiver is not a band that I'll be listening to frequently as I prefer my metal to be faster and certainly more aggressive than the band ever achieves. But, there are times when the slower styles of metal and hard rock are just the ticket.

The official retail release of "Terra Incognito" will contain an enhanced portion featuring the video for the track "Lake Of Sulphur."

"Terra Incognito" was produced by Daniel Bergstrand.

The Great Deceiver is Tomas Lindberg on vocals, Kristian Wahlin on guitars, Johan Osterberg on guitars, Matti Lundell on bass, and Hans Nilsson on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.