Murderer might only be the first full-length output from Denmark's Deus Otiosus (Withdrawn God), but the band's members have a fair amount of collective experience in other acts like Cerekloth, Hideous Invasion, and the speed/thrashers Victimizer. If you've heard some of those groups, then you'll know that these gentlemen prefer an old school approach to composition, and Murderer is no exception. This is primitive, riff-based death metal with a slight influence from thrash and hardcore, but the guitars and gutturals have an immense amount of punch to them, and they thankfully avoid the trendy, cavernous crawl-core or the outright Swede worship for something more along the lines of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, or Unleashed with a few traces of their own countrymen Exmortem and Panzerchrist.
I love my riffs, and fortunately so does this band, because each song throttles the listener with at least a few memorable hooks in between some of the simpler, brickhouse punk explosions that provide the framework for excitement. I do feel that the album is front-loaded with most of its better material. For example, "I Have Seen Him Slay" is a swell starting point that showcases everything this band is about: concrete drumming, efficient leads, and copious guitar tone that pummels the note progressions over the top. "Thousand Arms of the Dead" opens with a gut wrenching, war-thrashing riff, and both its closing moments and the entire following track "Wall of Violence" are exhibitions of double bass driven violence. "Ye Pigs of Little Faith" is also a standout on the album, surging between thick thrash chops and moody, plunking bass sequences as it attempts to draw some atmosphere into what is otherwise a level, straightforward sound.
Later on, though, I found some of the material to waver in quality, if not consistency. "Whore Limbs" is a taut death tune with a good breakdown in the bridge, but I didn't get much out of the track "No Life" outside of the bridge/lead. Nor did I really get into the slower bombastic gait of "Ash World", mighty as it might sound. The title track, with rounds out the album, is decent if forgettable, with some pretty uninteresting riffage in the verse and bridge. Of course, writing in such a straightforward style is pretty difficult, since by this day and age so many of the riffs will always feel as if they've been done before, but Deus Otiosus go some lengths to compensate with the loud, rousing production of the record. In all, this is tight execution of 90s death metal serial killer fundamentals with a brawny energy about it that shows some promise. Not entirely original, perhaps, but they lay on the muscle in their tone and dodge a few of the cliches that are currently in overabundance.
Verdict: Win [7.25/10]