Bulgarian death maniacs Wartime return with their sophomore full-length, ‘Solar Messiah’. Slamming powerful riffs and rhythms from the start, Wartime make it clear they are pulling no punches with this release.

Down-tuned groove is the order of the hour on ‘The Deepest Fear’, creating a monstrous rhythm section for lead singer Ivan to belt his rather operatic voice over. While I grew tired quickly of the rhythms heard on many of the tracks, the song arrangements kept me listening for the duration, which at times, reaches beyond the 6 minute mark. ‘Inner Sight’ sets things off with a militant snare march before building into  a melodic series of ideas that are well organized and performed.

At times, the vocals sound strained and the songs are hard to differentiate from one another. I can’t argue with the production quality of ‘Solar Messiah’ but must say I find little here to really get my blood flowing. Other than a few first impressions, killer riffs and solid rhythms, the material on ‘Solar Messiah’ falls short of what I have come to expect death metal to be capable of. Perhaps it just isn’t my taste in music and I am becoming too old and crotchety to write unbiased reviews, but I prefer art that is more challenging and not as easily digestible.