Blackened thrash is one strand of metal that will forever have one heavily-studded hobnail boot planted firmly in the 1980s. That’s a good thing, by the way. A great thing, in fact. The days of ‘How much heavier?’, ‘Faster?’, ‘Harder?’ can it get are still spilled-beer-fresh in my mind and I’m pretty sure, if I remember correctly, that more or less everything that was growly and ear-splittingly heavy was described as thrash back in 1986. Blackened thrash always sounds like it contains something of the true spirit of metal. The torchbearer that could easily be, even if I’m sure someone will pick me up on my chronology given there’s a Venom and Bathory influence to be taken into consideration, the missing link from where Reign in Blood left off and the dive underground that was to take place in the late 80s and early 90s. There are few bands I’ve heard that capture that spirit with such glee and in the same blood and vomit covered way as Bestiality. The perfect match of obnoxious and offensive in a way that only a thrash metal merger with black metal could possibly achieve.
Right from the opening bars of Tales From The Crypt the band’s first EP hits out on its cloven-footed stride with the kind of energy and zest for kicking down the doors of hell that is such a prerequisite for the genre. Ok, there’s obviously a heavy streak of razor sharp, nihilistic black metal in here – the blast beats and the ferocious tremolo riffs are all in there too among the thrash shredding (including a cover of Bathory’s Hades from 1984 – which slots in nicely). While the rasping vocals occasionally flip to a guttural death metal growl. But there is a bruising, knockabout, punk feel too (even an ‘oi’ or two in Raped By The Devil) which should be enough to put a smile on the face of anyone who likes pints, patches and, thinks that albums with a goat-headed devil on the front are the epitome of cool.
The black metal side of the band rises up as the EP progresses and by the time we get to six-minuter Blood Red Sodomy (most of the other tracks are two to three minutes) there are some pure black metal elements creeping in. Probably the most surprising thing about Bestiality is that they’re from Poland, not Australia, which seems to have become the natural home for this sort of thing – but they’re certainly from the musical family tree that includes Aussie bands like Vomitor but also Destroyer666 and Gospel of the Horns. Perhaps, dare I say it, closer to home, Germany’s Ketzer and Desaster are also similar, but, let’s be honest, I probably don’t really need to list these bands because we all know what I’m talking about.
But what Bestiality brings, along with their total and utterly joyous vigour for hammering home some pretty catchy, paint-stripping blackened thrash, is a very nice stripped-down production that makes you feel like you’re stood in the front row on a Saturday night experiencing it all first hand. The EP hurls itself at you at breakneck speed, stopping short of stupidly fast, before chucking in their two rougher tracks from their first demo Way of the Cross (which was only released in June last year). In fact the only thing missing for completion is the demo’s version of Destroyer666 cover Satanic Speed Metal from the 1998 single of the same name which would have topped things off nicely. There’s a bit of a garage feel to this, a bit thrown together and slightly unplanned, maybe (and, of course, that’s partly the point!) but it also leaves me feeling there is more to come given this is the first blistering shotgun blast. This EP is stamping Bestiality’s mark out there. Pure unadulterated punk fuelled, blackened thrash metal with a fantastic old school vibe. So, if you’re having a bad day, stick this on and cheer up you miserable sod. Good work.
(7.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)