Reviewed: July 2022
Released: 2022, Bigbadwolfrecords/Headbangers Records
Reviewer: Lee Carter
“Long before the existence of mankind, when wicked storms roamed the earth, an evil king emerged from the clouds. Riding on a skin torn horse, as lifeless as it’s master. Now battered by greed and neglect since mortal souls failed to prevail. Wielding shield and sword. Galloping into vengeance. Soon the lands will be cloaked in darkness. For its name is Bladecrusher.” Don’t you just love a backstory?
This is the setup for Netherlands’ BLADECRUSHER, and their debut EP, ‘Tempest’. Now, if you have been following these lads since their inception, you may be aware that they were known as TEMPEST and released a self-titled EP back in 2021. Hot on the heels of that record, the band changed their name, and then released (re-released?) said body of work, which we have for discernible dissection today.
Well, if you love you some thrash, you’ll be right at home here. Right from the get-go of “Sacrificial Rites”, the chugging riffs will have those headbanging muscles working themselves stupid, before the band ratchet the tempo up a notch to the “blind fury” setting. “No Mercy” is prime live thrash, with it’s “no mercy” refrain that’ll have all the headbangers up front chanting, whilst the instrumental “Tempestarii” offers, arguably, the EP’s biggest surprise by introducing a mid-tempo pace. On a thrash record? It cannot be! Similarly, the spoken intro to finale “Behold The Deity” – where the narrator reads aloud the above backstory – turns heads and hints at a folk/power metal persuasion before doing as BLADECRUSHER have done throughout by thrashing ‘til death.
For some, there is always a small visual element to a record, be that the story element told throughout the work’s lyrics, or the conjuring of scenarios from what can be heard. Here, you can simply imagine a hot, sweaty mosh pit with hundreds of long-haired fans cutting loose and banging their heads along with venom. While a modern thrash piece, it has a very 80s feel when the genre was, arguable at its absolute peak.
It’s everything that you would expect from thrash metal, but there’s just something about the production on ‘Tempest’ that hits that bit extra hard. It is bright, lively, and punchy with a tremendous force behind it that ably aids the impact every song has. Simply put, this slaps in an almost literal sense. Even at quieter volumes, this is a bruising listen, but why would you put this on at a low level? Crank it and let those ears bleed.
BLADECRUSHER may have only been in existence for a short period of time – even including their time as TEMPEST – but their greenness is of no hindrance to write a cracking body of the thrashy stuff. ‘Tempest’ is the embodiment of the genre and would not feel out of place whether released today or back in the 80s. While it may not necessarily have the impact some of the genre’s seminal classics carry, the more unusual lyrical content (fantasy lore with modern societal issues) and thunderous production make it all the more fun to listen to. Break out the battle jacket and see you in the pit, champion.