Thanks to the advanced GPS software offered by Encyclopaedia Metallum, I now know that there's a whole inbred network of metal bands that call home to their mommas in the southern Swedish town of Linköping. Witchery. Seance. Satanic Slaughter. Morgue. Freevil. Some of them circle in incestuous orbit around their neighbors from Gothenburg, about 150 miles west. They differ greatly in quantity of output, preferred subgenre and badassery. Probably the least prolific and most badass of the lot would be Seance, who broke up in 1998 and reunited just last year. The intervening years were busy for the current and former members of Seance, chock-full of double and triple-timing in Witchery, Satanic Slaughter and The Haunted. If anyone was still waiting for the follow-up to Saltrubbed Eyes (1993), they oughta be pleased by Awakening of the Gods. It's about as efficient as death metal comes.
Motorized riffs and Johan Larsson's top-shelf growl inject a martial severity into Awakening of the Gods, crisping the surfaces of what might otherwise be a set of competent but standard Swedish thrash tunes. Seance strike an expert balance between brüdle and dynamic -- "Your Time Has Come" and the aptly named "Forever Haunted" don't quite make it to "melodic," but key and texture changes keep them flaying and slaying creatively. Shit, even the 49-second acoustic interlude "Flight of the Wicked" is worth hearing multiple times. The best songs eschew thrash polkabeats and show off Seance's pummeling rhythm guitar writing, as in "They." Riffs coil around a rigid percussion backbone, carving out deep grooves, threatening dangerous explosions and building from one section to the next. It's the kind of propulsive death metal that Lamb of God used to write. Not to say that Seance are heirs to any particular throne -- Awakening of the Gods is just a great death-thrash album, and if that ain't good enough for you, eat poo.