I think most people into their extreme metal will know exactly where this US quartet are pitching their bestial onslaught of barbaric intent and indeed you would be right as the band fixates on the 80s when rawness and power were hand in hand like comrades. It is some six years since the band’s debut “Swarming Darkness” an album that set their stall out with that razoring rawness amidst an avalanche of punishing riffs and this sophomore continues where that release left off leaving fans dangling as to what the hell happened to them in the intervening six years.
Arguably this second album is even more barbaric, possessing a malicious structure laid out in the unmitigated rage that each track wields. The opener, “Command For Triumph / Genocide Lust”, has a fine build up sequence before the battering mayhem begins, hurtling the song to an abyss of cacophonic control. I absolutely love the sound on this album as each track is like a fiery breath blow torching the listener into ashes. The bands penchant for the 80s is plainly evident on “Endless Graves” and any of you that listened to demos back then will relate to this album hugely but without the muffling that sometimes accompanied the sound back then especially if you had a tenth generation copy of a tape. The speed is blurring at times but well defined and appropriate for to the riffing and outright ferocity the whole album entails.
The vocals are especially vitriolic, having a distinct echo they create that atmosphere of being recorded in a subterranean tomb as blazing lead breaks infect the release with high velocity needle sharp piercing. Being slightly longer, the title track opens with a slower more pervasive riffing style backed by the demonised vocal exhortations. The song sequentially escalates as the drum sound takes on a methodical clanging aura that makes the song mechanistic and hypnotic as the expected speed burst eventually burrows its way into the track with excellent momentum. I liked the start to “Baphomet’s Call” with its morphing power before the blast beat annihilation that sees the song pour utter scorn on the listener. Indeed the drum work here really catches the ear because of the unerring speed and variation that make the song revel in stratospheric impetus and when you get the scything riffing the song is just immense.
Continuing the malevolence is “Evil Commands You” where a clamouring style ensues via the drum work and repeating riff before the colossal riff break that is 80s wholly personified and anyone who loves old Possessed will be completely stoked by this song and the release generally. There is no let up on “Total Possession” either with the relentless barrage continuing to rain down sonic bullets as yet another devastating riff break is heard.
Ending this fine album is “Acolyte Of Death’s Destruction” a much more involved and longer track that initiates with an eerie guitar hook that isn’t too far off old school black metal. The stripped back sound and isolation of the guitar works extremely well in conjuring an atmosphere of deviltry as the song shifts position massively when the song unveils a hateful riff and accompanying speed burst. Now as I said the track is more involved and diverts itself into an extremely tuneful riposte that owes as much to heavy metal as it does extremity as the vocals have a blackened edge to them. The slower lead break also hints at the heavy metal poise though it is much harsher of course but still equally ingrained into the fabric of the song.
This is a monstrously pernicious and malignant slab of sonic art, taking in the hallmarks of the 80s but reinvigorating them with consummate cataclysmic cruelty.
(9/10 Martin Harris)