Thrash metal is what Sweden’s Desultor are about. It’s clear from listening to “Masters of Hate”, their debut album that they don’t believe in messing about. Non-stop and like a whirlwind, it is also rich in technicality.
The spooky, extra-terrestrial opening soon turns to rapid-fire thrash with triggering drums before taking stock and without losing momentum, rumbling through a guitar solo. This is “Black Monday”. Our attention is captured. The fast and furious tempo is maintained on “Another World”. The expansive, supernatural vocals sound uncannily like Nevermore’s Warrel Dane. More triggering drums provide the drill for this emerging well of progressive thrash metal. It’s progressive just as I like it – heavy and deep-veined. It refuses to stand still. Controlled, lively and breathless, the epic drama thrashes its way into the ever lofty and colourful “Denied”. The “Nevermore vocals” – they’re so similar as to be modelled on them, not that this a criticism – work well which this music which thunders melodically and brutally like a burning funeral pyre. It’s like a riot zone with alarms out there and there’s danger everywhere, but it’s equally tight and epic.
We get a little breather on “Chapter 2: The Phoenix” – not sure why, really. It moves in a sinister and suggestively industrial way but only as a prelude to the screams and battery of “And So We Bleed…”. Majesty is once again evident in those vocals which accompany the furious wall of drum and guitar lines. There is a smooth transition into lush guitar work, followed by more violent hammering. “The Luxury of Pain” mirrors what has gone before – thunder, heaviness, passionate vocals, a sublime guitar solo, and subtle changes of mood and pace, but only between fast and faster. The gripping “Caged” sets us up for one last battle, the title track. “Masters of Hate” is as highly-charged as ever but by virtue of its chorus the most cheesy on an album which maintains the principle of taking us direct to the heart of the matter.
This breathtaking journey seems to be over very quickly. It becomes a little predictable perhaps but I’d rather they do this than something they’re not good at or something which destroys the ambiance. In any case, the tracks are colourful. They contain a multitude of elements but are well-rounded. “Masters of Hate” is big but not flashy. There’s no compromise to the brutality but heads rise above the thrashing parapet and there’s subtlety in the riffs. So the constituent parts which make up this amalgam of styles are not unusual but I can only describe the progressive thrash metal which is offered up here as exhilarating. I like it.
(7.5 / 10 Andrew Doherty)