A crucial aspect of making a great record should be to set a tone and follow through on the promise of that tone. Bands can sometimes have a hard time adhering to the tone they establish because they want to do so much, but in the end they lose sight of what they were trying to accomplish in the first place. This is not said as an insult to experimentation and diversity, but rather to applaud maintaining a certain level of consistency in the identity of the music. A band who have a firm grasp on the role that tone and consistency play are thrash revivalists Black Fast. Their third album Terms of Surrender lets listeners know from the get go what they’ll be experiencing when they throw on this hefty slab of blackened and face-melting tunes.
“The Keep” is brought in by a mini-drum solo that’s only the prelude to a furious barrage of the well executed blend of high pitched blackened vocals and tight, fast-paced riffs followed by ripping solos. One of the most endearing things about this album is that every track has a solo that doesn’t feel like it was just squeezed into the track. They not only sound great, but also fit into the tone the band established from song one. It gives you something extra to be excited for, on top of the already technical compositions. The band really seems to have a deep knowledge on how to write music imbued with the soul of thrash itself, as each track feels like it could have been dusted off after being in someone’s garage since the 80’s. However, there are modern flashes here and there, as some of the solos seem to have a death metal flare to them, almost like something you would hear from a modern act like Fallujah. One specific example of this “To Propagate the Void”, which includes this spaced out, emotive solo that doesn’t have a lot of technical flare, but shows that the band can work rather touching instrumental parts into music that is otherwise cold and punishing. It probably helps that the bassist and one of the guitarists have jazz degrees and understand how to compose music that’s complex.
Yet, for the complexity and speed offered by the band, the music is especially straightforward. You won’t find yourself thinking that too much is going on as everything has its place and stays there. For how many licks this band crams into any one song, it’s quite the feat to keep everything feeling like it’s moving in the same musical direction. The only thing that holds this album back is that the mix could be better. The bass feels like it could be a tad louder, the vocals could be brought down a bit and the drums could be a bit louder. Other than that, this album is one worth listening to, especially if you like Revocation, which this band mirrors in many ways. An album like this is what you can accomplish if you truly know what tone you’re setting out to create musically and you stick to it with incredible consistency. It can make all the difference.
Black Fast’s Terms of Surrender gets…