For my first review of 2016, I took out the time to review some EPs and demos in the black/thrash vein. None of these bands have released a full length, yet all of them show extreme potential. Please support them on Bandcamp if you get the chance.
Release: Welcome to Hellknife EP
Hellknife is a new black/thrash band from Houston, Texas—blowing out of the gate with an EP titled Welcome to Hellknife as a way of introducing themselves to the scene. And what an introduction! Hellknife came to the table with five tracks that are all extremely good, blending a healthy mixture of multiple different styles of black/thrash. “Die by the Knife” is the highlight, being an adrenaline-fueled nightmare that closes out the EP with intense energy. Hellknife are also not afraid to experiment with the more airy, dissonant side of black/thrash akin to Destroyer 666 with the tracks “Blackest Night” and “Wolfcharge.” This being Hellknife’s first release, it is truly impressive and hopefully an indicator of things to come. Of course, that’s to be expected of Texan metal—it’s raw and down to earth, and hardly every does it resort to navel gazing. Absolutely worth your time, as the EP is free on Bandcamp.
Release: Esoterrorism EP
Label: Impious Desecration Records
Goatspell are from France and take a much more varied and lengthy approach to the sonic sphere of black/thrash. Extremely mean tracks that are filled with aggression, but are certainly less in-your-face and much more of a slow burn. Each song is a long affair that is packed tightly with well-placed and fast riffs, opening up venues for exploration in each song. Esoterrorism rings true of Desaster and Gospel of the Horns. This varied style has a big impact on their songwriting: on tracks like “Worst Kind of Scum,” they alternate between open riffs occasionally punctuated by d-beats and tight chord progressions meant to move the song forward through its verses. Overall, this is a fascinating release and it will prove enjoyable to most black/thrash fans but may fail to capture a true sense of completion—the songs are good in the moment, but occasionally unmemorable after the tracks themselves end. Nevertheless, the band shows extreme potential and Esoterrorism is nothing to sneeze at.
Release: “Heaven is for Pussies” Demo
Thundertank are yet another Texan black/thrash and truly continue the Texan spirit with their newest demo, Heaven is for Pussies. The tracks on here utilize the drunken revelry of something like Gehannah to its spectacular extent, pushing it to its punk limit. The whole album has a grimy feel while still maintaining a more traditional black/thrash overall, resulting in a product that also feels like speed metal. The result is choppy riffs that hardly ever feel streamlined and serve to develop each song to its own potential. Songs like “The Crack of Satan’s Whip” have incredible synchronicity between the riffs and percussion that it gives it that sound of a chaotic punk house basement. Extremely strong, highly recommended.