The cover art to Never Forever (Profound Lore) sums up pretty well what to expect from Monarch’s latest album; a black and white inverted crucifix fashioned from butterflies, dark and ominous juxtaposed with beauty. The symbolism of the butterfly hinting that this is going to be a tour of the darker recesses of the human psyche. Continue reading
Even down to their so metal it hurts moniker, New Yorkers Black Anvil are quite the summarisation of an extreme metal act. Successfully melding various styles of metal’s more intense styles – combining black metal, the likes of thrash, doom and hardcore with firm nods to traditional heavy metal – Black Anvil have already proven themselves a more than formidable presence, with latest effort Hail Death (Relapse Records) cementing them thusly.
It is striking how they manage to take what are such polarising elements of different variations of metal music and make feel seamless. Predominantly this is very sinister and primal black metal with the raw fury and pace of early, punk tinged thrash metal; showcased on the opening barrage of ‘Still Reborn’. On ‘Redemption Through Blood’ the hardcore influences come to light as well with the use of gang vocals which should contrast with such kvlt traits but feels so natural.
Elsewhere proceedings even slow down to a doom like, brooding crawl, but maintain the sense of unbridled fury and menace. The bonus KISS cover of ‘Under A Rose’ is the real sore thumb with its clean vocals and does feel unnecessary, if not showing they have no fears of throwing a spanner into the works.
The only real criticism of this album is its duration. Several songs here nearly reach the 10 minute mark, and in the case of true album closer ‘Next Level Black’ even surpassing 11 minutes; and even with their diversity and dynamism it does feel needlessly drawn out. Aside from the need of cutting down however Hail Death is a very impressive effort which channels a wide range of extremities, resulting in plenty of visceral and hate filled headbanging fodder.
7.5 / 10