BLACK ANVIL: Hail Death: CD

Right off the bat, I’m fully copping to the fact that I’m probably the wrong person to review a black metal release, primarily because I think the genre as a whole is a bit bombastic and silly, best typified by the parody band Black Satans. That said, I’m also one who likes to test my own biases on occasion and venture into territory usually avoided in the hopes of findingsomethingthat will catch. This ain’t quite it. What it is, though, is a release that is much more engaging than a lot of its peers, likely due in no small part to good production quality and the fact that the band has a bit more “street” in its approach—they keep the performance tight and intricate while evenly peppering things with melody and evil screech, metal ostentation, and gritty hyper-thrash amidst all the usual trappings. While it didn’t really change my mind about the genre, individually they weren’t bad at all as far as these things go, which is meant more as an admittance that they might’ve “cracked the shell” than as a backhanded compliment. 

 –jimmy (Relapse)