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Die Hard - "Nihilistic Vision " (CD)

Die Hard - "Nihilistic Vision " CD cover image

"Nihilistic Vision " track listing:

1. Into the Desolate Halls of Death (4:17)
2. Hidden Face (2:47)
3. Bloody War (5:14)
4. Nihilistic Vision (3:13)
5. Fed to the Lions (4:39)
6. Mercenaries of Hell (3:22)
7. Ride the Incubus (3:19)
8. I Am Possessed (3:26)
9. Attack from the Back (2:18)
10. Death Chasing the Flock of Mortals (8:00)

Reviewed by on February 27, 2010

"When 'Nihilistic Vision' gains momentum, as it does in its second half with a series of thrashers, the destruction is equivalent to a 12-car pileup at the Daytona 500."

Die Hard is a Swedish trio with a unbridled devotion to Venom; at least, judging by the fact that their name is derived from a 1983 Venom song and the thrash/death sound that Venom made infamous in the early 80’s. The comparisons stop there, as Die Hard comes into their own as an ambitious entity on “Nihilistic Vision.” This is a debut album with balls of fury. Die Hard isn’t satisfied with a whole album of two-to-three minute thrash songs bundled in one tight package. There is variety in the form of mini-epics and infectious songwriting, an aspect uncharacteristic for the genre. “Welcome to Hell” this is not, but the dissonance and grittiness of that classic is retained to some extent on “Nihilistic Vision.”

When “Nihilistic Vision” gains momentum, as it does in its second half with a series of thrashers, the destruction is equivalent to a 12-car pileup at the Daytona 500. “Attack From The Back” oozes aggression, as the band tears through two minutes of sheer discontent for the ears of the listener. “Ride The Incubus” is crude and catchy, a mystical journey into a sexual debauchery sundae, with samples of women moaning and cheesy evil laughter the dark cherry on top.

While these songs are blistering rays of speed, the most exciting moments of the album are when the band steps outside the narrow thrash path and pushes down the unbeaten trail. “Bloody War” is an entire full-fledged war campaign squeezed into a compact five minutes, as wicked guitar riffs correspond with bombs dropping and airplane engines to accentuate a chaotic mood. Closer “Death Chasing the Flock of Mortals” is an eight-minute epic that features the best instrumental work on the album, but runs a little long.

While the production might not be as low-fi as some of the other bands to come from the early era of thrash/death, the lyrics are certainly stuck in a time warp. “Into the Desolate Halls of Death” sets the tone from the very beginning with backward chants praising Satan. The rest of the album follows suit, as warfare, slaughter, murder, death, and good old-fashioned violence against others are the hard-hitting subjects discussed. A personal favorite is “Ride The Incubus,” a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the sexual rendezvous between a woman and a demon.

On the musical front, technical-proficiency is a term that Die Hard scoffs at; the band gets the job done, but nothing stands out as being completely awe-inspiring. One exception is the surprising melodic lead work that is employed on several tracks that gives a little breathing room to the sound. The vocals are the usual trademark harsh yells made famous by vocalists such as Mille Petrozza and Cronos, with an occasional falsetto scream that pierces the blackened air.

Die Hard shows a lot of promise on “Nihilistic Vision.” The debut is ten tracks that sound like classic old-school thrash/death, but doesn't cross the “copycat” line. The faster material is consistent, but the album hits its peak with the more fully developed numbers. The longer the song gets, the more creative Die Hard gets. The album screams out “underground following,” but then again, that’s how a lot of the great bands began before breaking into a wider appeal from metal fans.

Highs: Classic old-school thrash/death sound, diverse songwriting, aggressive thrashers, tongue-in-cheek humor on a few tracks.

Lows: "Death Chasing The Flock Of Mortals" runs a bit too long, the faster songs blend together at times.

Bottom line: A strong debut album that shows vast potential for the future for Die Hard.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)