Russian black metal darkness to follow the beast that was 2019's Darkest Conjurations.
Words by Danny Gonzalez (@badulario):
Cold War-era propaganda always portrayed Mother Russia as the home of everything tough, hard, and extreme. They painted images of freezing vast plains, an untamed wilderness, and vodka-fueled daredevils while a ruthless regime displayed a warfare array of monster tanks and mammoth aircrafts with the combined power to obliterate mankind fifteen times. With that kind of background, one can’t expect a Russian extreme metal band to be anything less than a raging attack to the senses. THANATOMASS deliver in full effect with their new blackened thrash outing, Black Vitriol & Iron Fire.
While their date of origin remains unknown, THANATOMASS released their first demo in 2018, the self-produced MMXV-MMXVI. Living Temple Records then gave way to their debut EP, Darkest Conjurations (2019), a year after. Here, the band channeled their array of dark influences into a raw yet atmospheric composition. Two years later and we're brought face to face with their grandest work yet, Black Vitriol & Iron Fire.
Arriving on May 21st and running at 33 minutes and 5 songs long, Black Vitriol & Iron Fire kickstarts in full aggression with the furious Funereal Ejaculation, a relentless offering of greatly executed thrash riffs raging on a march of manic drumming. Frontman Thanatos rips his distorted vocal cords through blasphemic screams that may very well be a portal to hell. The track shifts from a constant pace into some low-tempo passages, turning the unceasing sound wall into one of ominous terror. The track's final riff links to Deathmass Extasis, another six-minute assault. While initially slower, it shifts speeds into a frantic and unstoppable listen that again harkens back to the genre's glory days. Like the predecessor, Deathmass Extasis alternates pace and showcases an attention to song structure that proves they care for more than just being aggressive. The track comes to a close with brutal display of hellish screams and thrash metal solos for a grand finale.
Sulphureous Darkness follows and its slow and haunting melody makes it the ideal interlude for the next assault, Altars of Nigromancy. It's more black metal leaning with furious speed intervals that hold a steady rhythm, less relentless yet still preserving the band’s signature lawless verve. We then jump into the near ten-minute track, Phallvs Lvciferi, which begins with an ominous overture that transitions into a violent discharge of merciless double blasts. In essence, it holds the same rage than that of Sepultura's Bestial Devastation (1985) with slower, more heavy metal-esque sections interweaved through it all. It becomes gradually slower towards the end and closes like a grim funeral chant.
Despite being a trio, THANATOMASS craft a sound that is bigger, wilder, and more barbaric than what you'd expect. Their first demo arrived only a couple of years ago in 2018 yet they've proved themselves to be a black metal ensemble of highly technical guitar, constant atmospheric darkness, and wide guttural vocal range, making themselves sound simultaneously older and fresher, but above all, METAL. Black Vitriol & Iron Fire is truly a conflagration of flesh and spirit, desire and demise.