For the uninitiated, a paroxysm is defined as “a sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity,” and such a word is certainly apt to describe the music of Grecian death/thrash metal band Rapture. As of late, the proto-death metal genre these guys traffic in has been hurting for some recognition, which is a shame, since there’s not another kind of extreme metal that feels quite as palpably human in its violence as this. The relatively down-to-earth, straightforward aggression and anger of thrash meld perfectly with the horror themes and focus on bludgeoning riffs that preoccupy the death metal psyche; what this results in is a combination that tends to have quite a bit of verisimilitude in its extremity and aggression in a way most death metal has a problem with.

Back to the paroxysm at hand, though: Paroxysm of Hatred is a solid 40 minutes of unrelenting death/thrash in the vein of early DeathPossession, and Altars-era Morbid Angel that will certainly suffice to bring the hurt for those hungry for new albums in this genre, but really, anybody content with the catalog that death/thrash has already developed over the years won’t exactly find what Rapture has done here to be essential listening. That isn’t to say anything has been done particularly poorly – in fact, this album maintains a solid level of quality throughout – so much as to say that Rapture certainly hasn’t done anything here that hasn’t been done before (and better) by classic albums in the genre.

It’s a shame, in a way, that such a well-done album falls victim to lacking originality. All four members of Rapture are locked in tight and clearly have a tremendous amount of talent as musicians between them, and the production is meaty and raw in exactly the way it needs to be, but, well, as I’ve said, other albums have just done it all better. It’s not until the end of the final track, “Revelation,” that Rapture takes a risk and throws a little Dissection-style black metal into the fray, but all this really shows is that they have the wherewithal and songwriting capability to make more interesting music than what they have here.

In summation, Paroxysm of Hatred is good, but inessential. For someone desperately in need of new death/thrash albums, or a Greek metalhead looking for a new band from their country’s scene to rep, or simply anyone curious about the current direction of this genre, there’s a lot to like in Rapture, but unless one meets any of these criteria, it’s just hard to find much of a reason to care about this album. Keep Rapture on the back-burner, because they’ve certainly got what it takes to be a driving force in the genre in years to come, but Paroxysm of Hatred shows that simply venerating the old guard isn’t going to cut it.

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Rapture puts out Paroxysm of Hatred through Memento Mori Records on January 22nd of next year. Preorders are not currently up, but keep an eye out!

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