Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Black Anvil : " Hail Death"

This New York band with black metal leanings, has matured a lot since their last album. There is still a strong thrash influence , at first they show little of their old hard core roots back from when these guys were Kill Your Idols,until the gang vocals of "Redemption Through Blood", there are also hints of break down through out. The vocals are more black metal meets the kind of rasp old Kreator used top employ. Clean vocals lining the edges of the songs is one change. This is done to infuse melody, but doesn't really come across as they are selling out, it is used in a similar fashion to what Woe has done in the past.

 The opener covers a lot ground in it's 9 minutes at times touching on almost Iron Maiden ground in place. It is a much bigger sound. When the hard core elements start coming in the spot light it reminds me of the golden days of thrash where bands like Anthrax were less removed from the hardcore street smarts. When the step back into their more black metalish sound on "Eventide" it is less inspired, they forsake the knack for cool hooky riffs for speed and negate the dynamics that are their strength on this record.

After repeat listens you can detect a formula not unlike the one employed by Watain on "Wildhunt" though more apparent here as most songs seem to start with a slow clean intro and then rumble to life, this varies in it's effectiveness, there is some good guitar playing on "Seven Stars Unseen" , but the riffs don't rock my socks off for the bulk of the song like the initial punch the album packs.The thrashier riffing that many of the songs build into often saves the day.

They carry the most power in the more deliberate chugging that accompanies songs like "G.N.ON", which could be called blackend something or another , it's pretty in your face metal, reminding me a little of Arsis, who I thought of as a thrash obsessed death metal band.The main harsh vocals have a midrange asp that begins to sound the same once you get half way into the album

In the album's  final 4 songs the melodic nature comes further into the forefront, this works really well, though slower and more melodic the emotional intent behind "Until the End' makes for a darker and more sonically heavy offering. The guitar riff in this song sounds like the riff they use in the Kiss cover that closes the album. Being a huge Kiss fan as a child this erans big points for me because not only do they cover Kiss , but they cover a song from "the Elder" . The melodic dynamics don't carry the same level off efectiveness on "My Hate is Pure" that falls back on the black thrash during the verses and lets the guitar ring out in a more acoustic tone on the chorus, which lose a little of the momentum for me a falling back into blasties doesn't make up for it.

Slowing things down does work pretty effectively on "N", the clean guitar here is creepy and dark, but no matter how the experimentation falls on this album win, lose or draw, the fact they are taking chances here is a bold move and I love the fact they are allowing themselves room to grow. The 11 minute track "Next Level Black" opens with clean vocals, they are low sullen barren baritone, the rather monotone style of slacker singing where you are not trying to sing that Helmet and Justin Broadrick employ is the style , it builds up into the harser vocals that are more dominate in the bulk of the song.

I will go ahead nd give this album a 9 , as it has endured multiple listens and is well crafted. This might alienate fans of the older albums but is a marked creative achievement this band should be porud of. The harsh vocals make some of the songs sound similar which keeps this from a perfect 10.

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