Voidhanger is the latest project of Warcrimer, frontman of Polish black death protagonists Infernal War. Considering the lack of any solid output from the latter in the past five years, (save for a split with Kriegsmachine in 2010), it’s far more likely that Voidhanger is the new full time passion rather than a side project. Add Infernal War guitarist Zyklon into the mix, and then consider that the end product is of a very similar ilk and the answer pretty much presents itself. Regardless, Voidhanger are certainly taking their new position seriously, with a mission statement to “spread negativity and satanic madness through the infernal mixture of thrash, death and black metal”.

A short intro is a very telling quote from Gary Oldman in the movie Leon, explaining how he “likes these calm little moments before the storm”, and that is the only moment of calm you get for the next half an hour, as Voidhanger commence a relentless angry assault on the senses. Zyklon’s guitar fires off riff after relentless riff, throwing to mind everything from Vader to Slayer to Witchmaster; whilst Priest’s frequent blasting keeps the rhythm at nothing less than a frenetic pace. Warcrimer’s vocal is full of primal hate; an angry tirade, however musical. Initially, you are knocked flat on your arse by the wave of hate, but it doesn’t take long to recover and from there for things to get a little bit predictable, at least for a while.

‘Skin the Lamb’ is driven by a very familiar guitar lead, and it doesn’t take long to make the Slayer connection, and furthermore to appreciate just how fine a guitarist Zyklon is; riffing with the speed and precision of Kreator, yet with an unquantifiable level of nastiness and bad intention. Warcrimer doesn’t sing the vocals, but spits them out with direct distain, leaving you in no doubt about his complete distaste for mankind. Whilst never boring, ‘Wrathprayers’ can be slightly single minded, and the middle of the album passes by in the midst of an angry haze with pauses to admire a riff here, a turn of phrase there. My attention was really grabbed by the last two tracks though, with the simple yet grooving guitar and blasting on ‘The Vampire of Beuthen’ being particularly effective. The pace is not so much slowed down, but it seems less cluttered and more attention has been paid to the composition. This is also borne out by the longer track lengths, which are almost doubled here, giving the songs room to breathe. Final track ‘Carnivorous Lunar Activities’ gives them occasion to showcase their black metal chops far more effectively than on the rest of the album; the riffing and drumming here sounding less like direct thrash and having more in common with the likes of latter era Gehenna.

‘Wrathprayers’ is a fine debut for Voidhanger, although fans of Infernal War will be a little disappointed that this is not quite up to that standard. Regardless of that, this is one of those albums that you can just slip into the CD player, (or MP3 if you are so inclined), and just let it fuck shit up for the next half an hour. It’s not pretty, it has no subtle nuances and it won’t change your life or the way you think. It will however make a very loud and aggressive racket for 30 mins, scare the neighbours and make the cat leave the room. All in all, it’s not perfect, but it’s all good clean harmless hatred.

(7.5/10 Lee Kimber)