Released: 2015, Bonehead Productions
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
When I think of black metal, through association I often imagine the sprawling beauty and isolation of rural Scandinavia as its natural origin. Though as the genre has grown throughout the years, it has become evident that traditional black metal music is often born from the disassociative urban landscapes of the modern world as well. Such is the case for Americas SPITE, hailing from Brooklyn, New York.
Comprised of only two members; Salpsan and Malebolge, Spite have been making a name for themselves in the American Black Metal community since 2010, and now present to us there first 7” EP “Trapped in the Pentagram” via Iron Bonehead Productions. Given that this release contains only two short tracks, I think it would be more appropriate to describe this release as a single, especially considering that the B side is a rerecording of their first demo “Desecration Rites”.
At first glance at the artwork, I get an immediate impression of what Spite are all about, and musically they meet my expectation. This is primitive, almost punky black metal with heavy influence from the thrashier sounds of first wave bands such as Venom or even early Sodom. The first track “Trapped in the Pentagram” wastes little time in making its mark, a quick run through the intro riff and the track soon kicks in to some stripped down, evil blasting. Following this the track settles into more mid-paced trashy territory, with catchy BM riffs alternating in quick succession before settling into a grooving chorus section punctuated by vocal refrains of “Trapped in the pentagram”, the second repeat of which features some great eccentricity from the bands vocalist, who snarls, spits and wails over the blackened attack.
The B-side features a rerecording of the band’s first demo single “Desecration Rites”, again this track is abrasive and straight to the point, featuring some impressive guitar work buried in amongst the tracks onslaught, the song once again cycles through some infectious riffing and speedy blasting, often changing its feel before you’ve really had the chance to digest it. This is the kind of music that turns up, kicks you in the head and fucks off, and I like that.
The production on these tracks in primitive and certainly intended to be in the vein of the early 90s releases, and it certainly suits this style. That being said all the instrumentation is still clearly audible whilst still being far from polished, and the EP has a great unedited live feel which is sadly increasingly hard to come by. Multiple listens reward by revealing some layers of shredding guitar and eerie with some unusual vocals buried in the mix. Whilst the sound may be primitive, the musicianship shows some technical prowess from Spite’s two members, but most importantly their excellent songwriting skills.
In six short minutes this EP is over, and leaves you hungry for more. This is old school black metal done right, reminding me very much of the early days of their fellow countrymen VON, and by proxy also reminding me of Casus Luciferi era Watain. That being said, Spite aren’t bringing much new to the table in terms of their sound, however I don’t believe that is there intention, instead they play black metal as it was originally intended; raw, unpolished and dangerous. Whilst I tend to think that adhering closely to the format of early days black metal doesn’t push anything forward, it is good to know there are still bands like Spite out there who do great justice to the original black metal vibe and sound, and I have no doubts that those out there who like myself enjoy violent and noisy BM music will definitely enjoy this release, and be keen to hear more.
Review by Naut