With the recent surge of bands that were pioneers of certain styles back in the day tearing the Metal world a new one lately, some of the lesser known groups reactivating are being criminally overlooked. One of them happens to be the German Death Metal outfit Convictors. The group initially formed in 1986, shortly afterwards releasing their first and only demo, The Last Judgement. Roughly a year later they called it a day. Fast forward to 2008, and Convictors was alive once more with most of the original line-up, only bassist Thomas Hassler missing from the equation. Michael Zimmermann, his replacement, was chosen to join drummer Uwe Fien, guitarist Lasse, and vocalist Fabian Frey. 2009 saw the Abdication of Humanity EP, and 2010 the departure of Uwe and Michael, who were replaced by Daniel Zuflucht and Samuel Maier (both Destination:Hell) respectively. Up to this point, it has been about twenty eight years since the band first came together, and we are finally getting their debut full-length album, Envoys of Extinction. But, does this end up worth the insanely long wait and extended hiatus, or is this a reactivation that is best left a memory?

Envoys of Extinction seems to mix together a good amount of the Swedish Death Metal style that may be familiar to fans of bands like Dismember or even God Dethroned. "Angel of Impurity", for example, has its share of heavy riffs cloaked in a rich distortion, amplified by the down-tuned bass guitar that is given plenty of dismal gaps to shine through as a vital instrument of ill intent. However, the main verses drip with a venomous rage on par with the song "Loyal to the Crown of God Dethroned" by the latter band listed above. Even the breakdown just past two minutes in ends up a surprisingly infectious march you can't help but bang your head along to obediently.

There's also "Festering Infestation Strikes". What starts out as a creepy piece of melodic tinged Death Metal actually winds up centred around timing changes that can sometimes bring in a little more brutality to the mix. Chugging main verses follow the hook-driven introduction, cutting suddenly to steady drum beats before slamming to a Doom Metals pace. "Preparedness 101" kicks things off in a similar manner, greeting you with high speed intensity that, unfortunately, doesn't too last long. Before you know it, you're listening to mid-tempo or slower paced Amon Amarth grade riffs without the insanely infectious hooks, but still retaining that subtle Nordic epic sensation through the remainder.

"Let Malevolence Arise" finds the guitars taking a different approach to the riffs, leaving complexity behind for simpler notes that crawl up and down the neck of the guitar. The lack of complexity allows the bass chords to stick out through the entire performance, adding much more depth to these commanding segments, especially the breakdown that, without the focus on that particular instrument, would have just been decent at best. The vocals show off some additional range, which is always welcome against the solid deeper growls that occasionally have a supporting layer. And then there's "Diabolical Female", which is just bass guitar heavy, period. While the two-step drumming doesn't stand out as much, it does help the main verses sustain more of a Punk or Crossover vibe that leads to a generally fun performance before the grittier, serious material kicks in prior to the kick ass guitar solo that just screams eighties Heavy Metal.

But before Envoys of Extinction ends, "Fragments" has a little hidden track around the nine minute mark. It's an analog recording that sounds like something taken from an old cassette. Given the riffs, it seems like the original version of "Diabolic Female", taken from the group's 1986 demo The Last Judgement, or one of the other two tracks if not that one in particular. It's a nice little piece of Death Metal history worth sticking around for, especially since chances are good most fans of the genre will never hear these original performances unless reissued as an EP or as bonus tracks to a future album. Of course "Oh je Dy" is literally just a four second clip of someone saying those words, as if in exhaustion, adding very little else to the album but, hey, at least it's a brief segway to bring things back around to "Preparedness 101" if you're up for another round, which you will be.

In the span of twenty-eight years, Convictors had only left us with one demo and an reunion EP before finally unleashing this debut album. It's criminal to think that this entity had sat dormant all this time, especially when comparing the hidden track to what we have now. It's clear time and line-up changes have greatly influenced the band's current output, and while far from bad in any way, it's a bitter sweet victory knowing that even a few years ago we probably would have had something entirely different. But, what we wind up with is this heavy, groove influenced Death Metal outfit that still slams your head against a brick wall, or at the very least a jagged rock, commanding your obedience with every passing track. If you're a fan of the genre, do yourself a favor and check out Envoys of Extinction right away.

Review originally composed for Apoch's Metal Review.