01. What Is Life If Not Now!
03. The Evil of All Roots
04. Ultimate Reality
05. We Own You
08. Dead and Left
09. With Transparent Blood
[Relapse Records | 9/28/10]
My first introduction to Black Anvil was seeing them live when they performed on one of Immortal’s rare US shows. I was aware of who they were, but never got around to actually listening to them (which is very unlike me). At first, I was a bit hesitant of how they would sound, upon finding out the band consisted of former members of legendary NYHC band Kill Your Idols (not that I dislike hardcore, I just never got into KYI). But my hesitance was quickly dismissed as they hit the stage and unleashed a storm of blackened/thrash metal with a touch of hardcore undertones.
Their debut album Time Insults the Mind demonstrated the bands potential at playing black metal, but overall the album felt more groovy and thrashy. This is not the case with their second full-length, Triumvirate, which has the raw sound that is prevalent on a lot of earlier black metal albums. Triumvirate kicks off with “What Is Life If Not Now!”, and is a force of galloping riffs, grim croaks and barreling drums which pummels the listener and sets the tone for the album. Midway through, the track hits a lower more crushing tempo and slowly rings out into the next track “Crippling”. “Crippling” carries over the ominous tone the previous track ended with and guides the listener right into “The Evil of All Roots”, which bares similarity in structure to the first track, giving the impression your listening to one long grim track.
Even amongst all the relentless riffs heard throughout the album, there are moments of melody. “Angels to Dust” is filled with melodic riffs and rhythmic tones that sets it apart from other tracks, but not to the point where it feels like you’re listening to a different album. It’s a little over 5 minutes, but feels much shorter due to how smooth the track flows. It’s easily one of the standout tracks, and a personal favorite of mine.
The remainder of the album continues the relentless barrage found in previous tracks. “We Own You” and “Scalping” switch between slower-paced, heavier notes right into pummeling riffs that offer no forgiveness. “Eliminate”, much like “Crippling”, creates ambience, but also features low eerie vocals over mist laden guitar chords. All of that ambience quickly vanishes as “Dead and Left” comes in with it’s crushing, hard hammering riffs, giving off a somewhat doom-like presence, offering a nice change of pace on the album. “With Transparent Blood” follows the same formula, fast tremolo picking, galloping bass and drum work, which midway through, all culminates to a slowed breakdown that carries out to the end of the track. The albums closer, “Veadtuck”, an instrumental track, is more mid-paced in it’s delivery, and reminds me of something you would hear on one of Satyricon’s more recent albums.
The production on Triumvirate is leaps and bounds above Time Insults the Mind. While the album retains the raw sound you would expect from a black metal band, it’s clear enough to hear all the notes that are being played. Paul Delaney’s vocals are more vicious this time around. It was evident on their first album, but now that the music accompanying him also shares the same attitude, it comes across so much more. His bass work is also strong throughout the album. Gary Bennet’s guitars have a perfect tone, and Raeph Glicken’s drums are mixed to perfection.
If you’re a fan of theirs, you will be instantly hooked when you listen to Triumvirate. If you’re just hearing about them for the first time and/or a fan of blackened thrash, I recommend checking out both of their albums. Black Anvil are making a name for themselves in the metal world and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store, in the years to come.
Black Anvil – Triumvirate