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Suicidal Angels - "Sanctify The Darkness" (CD)

Suicidal Angels - "Sanctify The Darkness" CD cover image

"Sanctify The Darkness" track listing:

1. Bloodthirsty (4:48)
2. The Pestilence Of Saints (3:50)
3. Inquisition (4:38)
4. Apokathilosis (3:34)
5. ... Lies (2:28)
6. No More Than Illusion (3:38)
7. Atheist (3:39)
8. Beyond The Laws Of Church (2:41)
9. Mourning Of The Cursed (1:55)
10. Dark Abyss (Your Fate Is Colored Black) (3:23)
11. Child Molester (3:38)

Reviewed by on March 9, 2010

"Suicidal Angels get it right – their lean and mean thrash machine has just what it needs, and nothing it doesn’t, to snap our necks right off."

Greece seems like a nice place. Fantastic climate, gleaming beaches, laid back society, wonderful food – not a likely place for lots of death and rage and whatnot. But Suicidal Angels has made some phenomenal deathened-blackened thrash, all the while lounging in the cradle of placidity.

From the opening brutal riffs of “Bloodthirsty” to the last pouncing chord of “Child Molester” this is stripped down thrash all the way through. There aren’t any extended jams, lengthy solos, or progressive pieces here, just bone chipping cracks of thrash mayhem. No additional instruments, choirs, over-produced soundscapes, or carefully arranged song structures, just repeated bursts of fury. The previously mentioned “Bloodthirsty” is the longest track on the album, at less than five minutes long, and still feels like 30 seconds of eternity.

Initially the album most resembles early Slayer, particularly through the slightly musical shouts of vocalist Nick and the straightforward guitar attack. But repeated listens give more depth to the music. Slight tempo changes away from the very fast and straight-counted base give subtle emotional shifts and slight bursts of hope. The short blasts of searing solos take us in the other direction, to the hyperventilating plunge to hell.

After a while, other pieces of everyone’s favorites come into play – Kreator, Possessed, Napalm Death, Behemoth, Celtic Frost. A little blackened riffing here, a little slower bridge there, a little gang vocal someplace else, and all of a sudden this is an album and not a collection of whack-a-mole thrash banging. “Inquisition” and “No More Than Illusion” spend much of their time in slower and syncopated grooves, while “Mourning of the Cursed” is a power chord shot of life, as well as bass player Angel’s best work on the album. Unfortunately the production also follows in black and death footsteps, leaving Angel’s bass way back in the mix most of the time. Orfeas’ drums are furious but also they often sound flat. But thankfully the production can’t mess with the aggregate overwhelming assault.

While newer straight death and black metal bands try to stay close to the bleak sounds of the originators, the recent thrash revival has seen a little more modern take on the genre among the self-professed throwback bands. But Suicidal Angels get it right – their lean and mean thrash machine has just what it needs, and nothing it doesn’t, to snap our necks right off.

Highs: “Apokathilosis” may be the best banger of the bunch.

Lows: The production leaves the bass way back in the mix and the drums somewhat flat.

Bottom line: Blackened-deathened thrash played the way thrash was meant to be played.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)