Blackened Thrash

Blasted Heath – Vela Review

Blasted Heath – Vela Review

“All is not well at the edge of the cosmos. Some of us look to the heavens and see a frontier, a blank page for all mankind to fill with the best of ourselves. Others, like the black thrash cosmonauts of Blasted Heath, can only widen their eyes in horror at the vast and indifferent expanse. This foursome may hail from Indianapolis, but their first transmission Vela sounds like a broadcast from a far corner of the galaxy. The message? No one is living long or prospering out here, the ship’s AI is starting to get cheeky, and we’ve lost contact with the colonists on LV-426.” Space madness.

Disembody – Reigniting Hellfire Review

Disembody – Reigniting Hellfire Review

“Ah, who doesn’t like a hellish blast of blackened thrash mayhem? While it may not top my list of metal drugs of choice, nor do I claim the expertise or passionate dedication to the style as our resident Z-man, it regularly delivers a refreshingly crude, ragged, riff-ready charm that goes down easily. Best served raw and unpolished, Finland’s Disembody, um…. embodies, the retro characteristics often found in the subgenre, pulling influences from the darker corners of ’80s thrash and imbuing these fast, fiery traits with ample doses of vitriolic blackened mayhem and grim first wave crudeness.” Disnuance.

Bastard – Rotten Blood Review

Bastard – Rotten Blood Review

“What we have here is the devil’s own bar band. After a seven-year layoff and a slew of lineup changes, Bastard swaggers back onstage with sophomore full-length Rotten Blood. These four likely parolees mine a vein of blackened speed metal and thrash that will be familiar to fans of NifelheimGoatwhore, or, more recently, any of your finer bands ending in the suffix “-er” (Bütcher, Bewitcher, Hellripper, Demiser, etc.). The album is all Motörhead riffs played at 78 rpm and mad-lib lyrics that pay homage to Satan or whatever–mostly, it seems, because cozying up to Old Man Splitfoot is the fastest way to get your hands on the good whiskey.” Bastards, bourbon, Battlestar Galactica.

Nocturnal – Serpent Death Review

Nocturnal – Serpent Death Review

“Of all the things we have reason to bitch and moan about in 2021, whether it be this goddamn pandemic, sports, politics, work, annoying neighbors or whatever frustrating societal issue is pissing you off in these turbulent times, I don’t believe thrash should be on the bitch list. Yes this timeless genre that was a gateway for many folks into the wider realms of metal, has had quite the fruitful year by modern standards. Which brings us to the latest album from unheralded German thrashers Nocturnal, entitled Serpent Death.” Snake Whacking Day.

Demiser – Through the Gate Eternal Review

Demiser – Through the Gate Eternal Review

“It’s spring in Minnesota. Given the harshness of our winters, these longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures always feel transformative, but after these past 12 months of hell, and with vaccination rates climbing and new Covid cases dropping, one can almost imagine normal life emerging from the pandemic like the landscape emerges as the snow disappears. In physical terms, this means the compulsion to go outside is strong. Absorb some sunlight, smell the mild air, watch things grow. In metal terms, it’s time to put down the doom and dsbm and reach for something fun, fast and filthy. South Carolina’s blackened thrash band Demiser have spent pandemic isolation crafting their debut full-length, Through the Gate Eternal.” Reports of Demiser are not greatly exaggerated.

Into the Obscure: Soulless – Forever Defiant

Into the Obscure: Soulless – Forever Defiant

“We all have our dirty metal secrets that we selfishly keep to ourselves, only sharing with a select few close to us. Or alternatively, we incessantly talk up underground gems and spread the gospel to anyone that will listen, as we cherish our slice of underground cred. Into the Obscure aims to right the wrongs and unearth the artists/albums that for whatever unjust reason didn’t get the exposure, appreciation or credit they sorely deserved the first time round.” Be Defiant.

Sarpa – Solivagus Review

Sarpa – Solivagus Review

“The promo blurb had promised me that Sarpa, although rooted in the black metal aesthetic, incorporates a lot of other elements, including some Afro/Latin rhythms! Have I got a blackened Sepultura on my hands or a misguided attempt to make world-music black metal?” Kitchen sink-core.

All Hell – The Witch’s Grail Review

All Hell – The Witch’s Grail Review

“Comfort food. Whether you’re a cuisine snob who frequents Michelin-star restaurants or an amateur cook trying new recipes for the family, odds are that there are times when you don’t want anything too fancy. Food you can fall back on that hits all the right spots without being too challenging or demanding. Mac and cheese, if you’re like me. The kind of blackened thrash that North Carolina’s All Hell produces is my musical equivalent of comfort food. It’s not mind-bending in its complexity (like, say, Dodecahedron) or emotionally demanding (lookin’ at you, Bell Witch and Ataraxie). But when you’ve had a bad day at the office, or life’s getting you down with its quotidian mundanity, All Hell and their ilk are there to get put a contented smile on your face while those neck muscles flex in appreciation.” Feel the Hell.

Witchery – I Am Legion Review

Witchery – I Am Legion Review

“I like a gap of a few years between albums; I find it reassuring. Anything sub-24 months and I begin to get twitchy. This is probably wholly unreasonable, and I’m sure the AMG readership can think of a litany of absolute turnips that took years to write and record, but I simply can’t help it. I was a little put out, therefore, to discover that Witchery were planning to unbox their latest work, I Am Legion, a paltry 350 days on from the release of their crushing 2016 effort, In His Infernal Majesty’s Service.” It’s the slow knife that thrills.