Album: Go to Hell
Go to Hell is a great example of why I spend my time sampling underground releases. A band like Peasant, unnoticed to me by conventional means, would not have been discovered if I hadn’t spent my time rolling around online listening to single tracks in the hopes that they would lead to an album’s worth of solid material. With a single listen of Peasant’s “Do You Believe in War?” I knew I had a lot in store for Go to Hell, a record that combines first wave black metal, speed metal, thrash metal, and even traditional metal into a record worth spinning over and over again.
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Peasant have crafted a twenty-five minute hellion of an album that continues to call me back to it like a pleasant memory. It absolutely succeeds in bringing its own cover art to life—evoking a medieval dungeon inhabited by inquisitors and torturers, harming those that oppose its unstoppable zealous fury.
At the risk of singing the praises of this release without going into any specifics, allow me to dive into the reasons that make Go to Hell such a phenomenal release. The first reason is the hybridization that Peasant has pulled off—no single track sounds like a hodge-podge of influences or like a poorly mixed recipe. Every element and style is present and given their own time in spotlight—echoing raspy black metal vocals, quickly strummed speed metal riffs, and even the melodic sections based in traditional metal.
It’s the latter that really makes the album stand out—too often you find bands that overly rely on melodic interludes and riffs, and let this boring melodic structure define their work. Peasant makes good use of any sort of melody in that any tagline of “melodic” seems out of place. Yet within the first few tracks it’s near impossible to deny the haunting presence these individual tracks have. These sections are combined with heavy tremolo riffs in a way that neither are there to simply appeal to both camps. Both styles of riffing are meant to be enjoyed intentionally and simultaneously, the mark of innovative metal.
The second aspect is that Peasant is the sum of great tracks that also stand alone quite well. The songs of Peasant work well together and on their own, which is the sign of a well written album with competent musicians. Plenty of songs have individual riffs that let the track define itself yet still add another concrete piece to the puzzle.
This album will certainly not appeal to everyone. It celebrates Venom, Bathory, Nocturnal, and many black/thrash greats. The songs are short, ripping, and never meander into unplanned territory. This will not please those that prefer the more introspective and ethereal qualities in black metal—it focuses more on the crushing misanthropic style of the early greats, and refuses to compromise in its advancement of this vision.