Review: Power from Hell – Blood ‘n’ Spikes

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Label: Dying Victims Productions

It can be a pleasant surprise when a record lives up to your expectations. Just look at that artwork and title! Even if you’re unfamiliar with the band’s back catalogue, everything about the latest EP from Power from Hell suggests blasphemous black-thrash, and Blood ‘n’ Spikes does not disappoint. The record sees the band maintain their record of releasing solid black-thrash, equal parts early Bathory and Sarcofago, howling for sex, drinks and metal whilst drawing pentagrams in blood upon basement walls. And then they top it all off with a Judas Priest cover. Killer!

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Album of the Day: Melechesh – The Epigensis

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Label: Nuclear Blast

Melechesh are surely one of the most distinctive bands in black metal. Their black-thrash sound is full of personality as it is – with the band only really having Absu as an even remotely accurate point of comparison – and the addition of native Middle Eastern folk music adds a whole new dimension to their sound. It’s a complex, unique mix of styles, and it surely can’t be easy to combine the two, but the band don’t have a bad record in their discography, with The Epigenesis being, for me, the pick of the bunch.

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Album of the Day: Sabbat – Envenom

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Label: Evil Records

If you want to empty your bank account in record time, there’s worse ways to do so than by trying to collect records by Japan’s Sabbat (originally known as Evil, and not to be confused with UK band Sabbat). They have released an absurd number of splits, EPs, live albums, and studio records – some of those records, confusingly, even have the same names as each other. It would take a soul truly dedicated to first wave black metal to listen to them all, but if you want a place to start, then first album Envenom is the perfect place.

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Album of the Day: Witchery – I Am Legion

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Label: Century Media Records

Witchery are old masters of black-thrash, with their first two albums – Restless & Dead, and Dead, Hot and Ready – being particularly excellent. Yet since the turn of the millennium,  it could be argued that the band have been victims of their own standards, with generally good albums like Symphony for the Devil not quite living up to the standards set early on in their career. Last year’s I Am Legion is an album that, whilst certainly worthwhile, doesn’t recreate the success of old; but then, nor is it trying to.

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Album of the Day: Bulletbelt – Rise of the Banshee

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Label: Headless Horseman / Hallways Of The Always Records

Given that new album Nine Centuries is due for release at the end of January, now is an excellent time to go back and remind ourselves of just how excellent the previous album from BulletbeltRise of the Banshee, is (full review from 2015 can be read here). This is a black-thrash album that perfectly captures how invigorating and enjoyable metal can be, and is so much fun that it is practically impossible not to be won over by it, still sounding fresh and exciting years on from release.

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Review: The Infernal Sea – Agents of Satan

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Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings

The previous album from The Infernal SeaThe Great Mortality, seems to have gone under the radars of a lot of people; a concept album about The Black Death, laced with anti-Christian message, it was an assured, darkly captivating album. New 7″ Agents of Satan is a slightly different affair, its two tracks moving away from the second-wave inspired sounds of The Great Mortality to thoroughly embrace a more black-thrash inspired sound instead, that is every bit as vicious and nasty as its Satanically driven, serial killer-inspired subject matter.

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Review: Throaat – Reflections in Darkness

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Label: Dying Victims Productions

After honing their craft on a series of EPs and a split release, New York black metal duo Throaat have unleashed their debut album, Reflections in Darkness, and it’s been worth the wait. The experience and confidence the band have gained over the past years are clearly on display, making Reflections in Darkness an eclectic listen that pulls inspiration from many different aspects of metal; yet one that also feels like a cohesive whole, driven forward by a strong vision and aim. As such, the album is one that has a lot to offer, and never feels constrained by genre or style, free to move in whatever direction it so chooses.

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