The melodic tag slapped on the band is an accurate one; this is an album that – in death metal terms – is very accessible, with songs such as “Dead And Still In Pain” filled with the sort of memorable hooks not always associated with the genre.
For all the melodic suss on display, the band is perhaps sold a little short by being thrown into such a restrictive genre, as it does nothing to convey the level of insane technical ability on show throughout the record. The riffs and leads of Miller and his six string buddy Luke Jaeger are sick, twisted and compelling, undoubtedly born out of a love for classic death metal but delivered with enough contemporary venom to batter any fly-by-night deathcore band into the middle of next week.
But it’s the drumming of Yeung, alongside the intricate bass work of former Decrepit Birth man Risha Eryavec, which really elevates Tactical above the average. Whether it’s precision blast or stomping groove, Yeung is all over this album and his performances on stand out tracks like “Under The Autumn Low” and “I Can’t Stand His Name” are a real tour de force.
Unusually for a modern metal album, Tactical features just eight tracks and has a running time of just over half an hour. While it’s certainly true that quality trumps quantity every time, some could end up feeling just a little short-changed and an additional couple of songs would have been welcome, not least to ensure that the high quality material on offer here isn’t overlooked by prospective buyers.
Not quite a landmark release in extreme metal but an incredibly promising first shot. Like death metal? You’re going to love it.
(released July 26, 2011 on Nuclear Blast Records)