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Away From the Haunts of Men
Released: 2010, Total Holocaust Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
“Australia” and “Black Metal” are two concepts that I’d never think would have anything in common, but damned if I’m not proven wrong again. Thrall just happens to be an Australian black metal band, who is thankfully more Darkthrone and Gorgoroth than Dimmu and Cradle. Now, I’m pretty wary about anything labeling itself as black metal these days, as there’s not many (if any) new ideas left in the genre. However, Thrall’s debut, AWAY FROM THE HAUNTS OF MEN, is a great example of how a young band can reintroduce elements we’ve all heard before, but in a presentation that comes across as both honest and interesting.
From the opening “Spit in the Eye,” Thrall lays it down ferociously and deliver just about everything you’d want from a traditional black metal opus. Fast, buzzing guitars? Check. Super fast drum blasts? Check. Lots of eerie guitar passages played in spooky minor keys? Double Check. But so what if you’ve been to this dance before, the presentation of the songs is solid and it brought me back for a few more listens. Later songs such as “Torrent of Death,” “Black Hearts Burn!” and “Robes of Flesh” stand out especially, and show that there’s more to Thrall than just playing really, really fast.
The band itself is actually a two-piece, with Tom Void handling pretty much everything but drums on the album. That being said, the album feels a little processed, in the fact that you’ve got one guy recording multiple parts and then putting the puzzle together. There’s some drum patterns on songs like “Enormous Night” that sound more like a helicopter’s blades during take-off than a well placed blast beat. So either that’s part of the programming that Void takes responsibility for, or drummer Em Støy has bionic legs. The band does perform live, so I’d be curious to hear how the songs come across with a full cadre of musicians involved.
It’s hard to stand out in a genre that’s got exponentially more followers than leaders, but Thrall makes a worthwhile statement with AWAY FROM THE HAUNTS OF MEN. It’s heavy, genuinely creepy, and proof that black metal still has a little life left in it. Check out Thrall’s website for more information on where to purchase a copy.
1. Spit in the Eye
2. Frozen Tears and Blood
3. Enormous Night
5. Torrent of Death
6. To Velvet Blackness
7. Ranks Web
8. Black Hearts Burn!
9. Robes of Flesh
Tom Void – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Programming
Em Støy – Drums
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