Most supergroups kick out an album once in a blue moon, recording when their members can set some time aside from their day jobs. Swedish deathsters Firespawn, though, have got back into action pretty quickly after the release of their debut, Shadow Realms, which was unveiled late in 2015.
And that sense of urgency is no surprise, given the personnel involved here. With current and former members of acts like Entombed, Unleashed and Necrophobic on the Firespawn roster, you have a band steeped in decades of death metal on your hands, but one which is far from being a tired bunch of old has-beens.
In keeping with Shadow Realms, The Reprobate – especially in its more explosive moments – takes its cues from across the Atlantic, rather than Stockholm: A Patient Wolf, for instance, sounds like it’s just burst out of the Everglades (albeit with the scent of Scandi-aggro in its nostrils) and the title track reeks of Morbid Angel and Immolation.
However, there is also room for Entombed’s malevolence to make its presence felt: Death By Impalement delves into the murk and pulls out an infectious, low slung groove, with LG Petrov’s trademark growl as fearsome as ever.
What’s missing, though, are the incendiary bombs that really lit up the first album, such as Shadow Realms itself, or the hook-filled Necromance. Yes, there are some fine songs here, but no real equivalents – and that’s a shame, as Firespawn are both technically astounding and adept at tapping into their scene’s sonic heritage.
Not a bad record then, but we know they’re capable of more.