Well, I promised myself I’d run TSNTW on my own terms, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. And if that means I want to write two lots of short reviews in a month, then I’m going to write two lots of short reviews in a month. So, for this second installment, we have a live version of a classic from Entombed; righteous crust/hardcore from rising underground stars Redbait; Under A Full Moon’s anti-capitalist funeral doom; thrashing speed metal courtesy of Aggressive Perfector, who contain members of UK black metal upstarts Wode; and stirring, string-driven modern classical from duo Kamancello. Enjoy!
Happy International Workers’ Day! For those of you who have this day as a holiday, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. For those of us in the UK, we have the bank holiday coming. And here at TSNTW, I’m getting back into the swing of things with a series of short reviews. For this installment, we have world-ending black/death metal; speed-laced black-thrash; a furious feminist statement; a wonderful meeting of progressive technicality and black metal horror; and beautiful modern classical. Enjoy!
Label: Husk Records
Look at that artwork! No, seriously, look at it. Your first impressions will probably be similar to mine – that it’s crude, violent, and wonderfully over-the-top. But look closer, and there’s something more to it; it’s clear that the overall effect is completely intentional, with small aspects that demonstrate subtle talent. The same is true of the music contained within. Both Black Knife and Lustrum make music that, on the surface, is every bit as lurid as the cover to this split, all 80’s extreme thrash riffs, punk violence, and snarling, proto-black metal vocals. But such is the conviction and talent of the bands that there’s no mistaking this for anything other than the real deal, and it’s bloody brilliant fun.
At the start of the week, I had the idea that I would try and focus on more beautiful, hopeful music this week. Yet, as you’ll see, by Tuesday that idea was long gone – and by Thursday, and the way the American government seemed to be treating survivors of sexual assault, nothing felt appropriate save absolute rage. Fuck the patriarchy. Burn it all down.
There’s something to be said for consistency. Now on to album number ten, Sathanas are the kind of band who have probably passed under your radar; their discography is one of solid black-thrash, that has – for whatever reason – largely been unheralded beyond their section of the underground. Latest record Necrohymns may be unlikely to change that, but it does serve as a demonstration of what the uninitiated have been missing out on. This is the sound of experience, of old hands who are utterly confident in their chosen style, and are seemingly content to keep doing what they do, regardless of whether anyone else pays attention or not.
A lesson that’s often overlooked in extreme metal is the importance of melody. You can blast away at 666 BPM, and your riffs can be as crude and violent as an army of rampaging demons, but without even a hint of melody odds are that it won’t half the desired impact. There are exceptions, of course, but these are few and far between. This lesson is one that Witchgöat have well learned, with their Umbra Regit demo demonstrating a band who appreciate the importance of melody in creating something vicious. Sitting somewhere between 90’s Dissection and 80’s German thrash, this is old-school through and through, and highly effective.
The trouble with modern records that so clearly recall the glory days of old is that it can be hard for them to stand on their own; to succeed on merits other than reminding you of whichever records or bands you consider to be classics. By whatever metric you care to judge though, the debut record from London’s Dungeon is a victory, with Purifying Fire being an electrifying onslaught of old-school speed metal, with a few dashes of heavy and death metal thrown in to keep things interesting. But more than anything else, throughout its duration, Purifying Fire excites because it sounds so vital, energetic, and untamed, with Dungeon standing out amongst the masses simply because of the quality of their material.