No mosh, no core, no trends but fun, yes there is a fair bit of fun here, whether intentional or not. Spite continues a run I have been having of late with one man acts and this one hails from Brooklyn NY and is helmed by Salspan of Horns & Hooves who has also played in the live incarnation of Negative Plane at some point. Those credentials are good uns as far as I am concerned and I grabbed this album just before it fell off the reviews list unloved and close to the release date. Rather glad I did too as it is a complete and utter banger.
Spite go for a somewhat spiteful form of black thrash, all bristling with studs and spikes and Salspan keeps the adrenaline flowing fast through the 8 tracks on this his debut album. A gruff fetid bellow and everything piles straight in on opener ‘The Devil’s Minyan.’ Things are sharp and savage and a bit on the primitive side with guitars raging hell for leather and drums pounding. Then comes the groove and it’s going to have you whiplashing your neck along to the riffs and throaty vocals. Somewhat majestic melody merges with cracking pace and some slower limbering parts giving you pretty much the best of both worlds. There are a lot of melodies here that remind of earlier days from the Scandinavian scene. You have a bit of the breakneck tumult from a band like Nifelheim as well as a sense of sinister melody that would not be out of place on a Dissection album. Second track ‘The Shield Of Abraham’ certainly injects this into proceedings with some short stabbing riffs that are spitefully (best word) and precisely poised. Overall though it sounds like although this is serious stuff old Salspan is having a great deal of aforementioned fun in the execution of these songs as well as paying homage to the true ways of metal. The licks are killer and when there is an evil cackle during proceedings you can almost sense what a great time he is having laying things down. There’s more than a sense of triumph and bravado about it all and it’s pretty damn infectious, speeding out the speakers on the Absu like clamour of ‘Vision of the Merkabah’ when he rasps out lyrics about “demons and dragons” with eccentric and unhinged flair.
There’s something downright Trollish about the bouncy groove of ‘False Magic.’ You just can’t tell whether the artist is having a bit of a laugh at the expense of somewhat like Arckanum here but all I can do is jig around and grin like a loon, head-banging when it speeds up and generally just enjoy the sorcery imagine the spell going completely wrong with the snarling vocals and causing all amount of mayhem. I kind of wish the lyrics were actually provided with this as it sounds like he really is having a hoot and a video would perhaps even be dafter than those of classic Immortal. I have to admit there’s something completely compelling and addictive about the album. It’s concise running time around the 38 minute mark kind of helps but I can’t stop keep coming back to it. Every song has something identifiable about it and gets hooks well and truly in and there are a veritable feast of references to classic bands that keep coming into my head. At times it comes across as dead serious. The shimmering, shivering glorious rapture of the opening guitar line on ‘Upon Funeral Stone’ and the melody along with huge barking vocal lines make you think you are listening to something missed from the olden days of second wave Scandewegian BM and there’s no denying the authenticity of Salspan’s craft here in the slightest. Some great and not too unfamiliar licks lead into the last self-titled track and by now you will probably, like me, be banging that fist in the air in salutation as guitar whirls around firing out classic metallic greatness every step of the way.
I have been well and truly Antimoshiached and I liked it!
As an after-note and on playing this to someone who understands Hebrew the title translates closely to Anti-Messiah and they described this very much thematically as providing a Satanic point of view via Judaism. They also said how similar the melody on The Hope Of Coming Armageddon is very similar to the Israeli national anthem. So this is very much an album with hidden depth to it too.
(8/10 Pete Woods)