Review by Krys on May 29, 2002.
After his departure from Arch Enemy, Johan Liiva didn’t waste any time and with help of guitarist Johan Reinholdz (Andromeda) and drummer Matte Modin (Dark Funeral/Defleshed) he formed a new project called NonExist; a band that is based on its members’ backgrounds to try to fuse elements of aggression and progressive metal into their debut “Deus Deceptor”.
One thing that you can’t deny is the musicianship of the NonExist trio. If you are a fan of Reinholdz’s work on “Extension of the Wish” or guitar driven records with wrist breaking riffs and solos, “Deus Deceptor” is yours to pick up without reading anything else I have to say about this album. Matte Modin makes sure that his drumming complements every riff and diversifies the songs from slow groovy beats to furious blasts while John Liiva does everything in his power to not resemble his performance in Arch Enemy and goes for much rawer style, a flanged growl ala Jeff Walker (Carcass). For the first time listener, that might be perfectly fine but after following his development in Arch Enemy it comes as a big surprise, not to say disappointment since I was expecting something totally different and personally I don’t think it’s a move into the right direction.
My biggest gripe with “Deus Deceptor” is lack of genuine atmosphere. Almost all tracks are very well written and arranged but somehow they don’t create a solid unit and leave me with a feeling of a well designed compilation. From Satriani-esque melodic solo based tracks to early In Flames to standard death metal construction “Deus Deceptor” represents a vast variety of emotions but as I stated above I’m finding a hard time linking them together. With standout tracks like ‘Eaten Alive’, the fantastic ‘A Halo Askew’ or ‘Ebony Tower’, NonExist proves unlimited musical potential and increases my cravings for a follow up. If only Reinholdz and Co. could wait a little longer and polish few compositions with greater detail this album might break out as one of the best debuts of the year, but they’re damn close anyway.
Bottom Line: Recommended to anyone with a taste for great guitar work or with love of today’s Swedish melodic scene in general but with progressive twist.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 7.8 out of 10