Review : BLACK ANVIL – "Triumvirate"

Black Anvil – Triumvirate
Release date: 2010Sep28 (US)
Label: Relapse
Rating: 4/5

It’s easy to notice bands who look to the skies and try, like Icarus, to fly close to the sun. Bands that are content in staying within their own realm are often defined as “retro” and “boring” by the press. What’s wrong in doing what one does best? Black Anvil put their heads down and pummel through the speakers with their brand of blackened death metal. They’ve put quite a bit of distance between themselves and the tinny drums and lo-fi production of Norwegian black metal though; the record is full of bass and thundering drums.

The opening line of the first song on Triumvirate is What is life / if not now!” and it’s a surprisingly up-beat statement, but it’s immediately torn down in favor of a massive metal onslaught and the roar of vocalist/bassist Paul Delaney (Let go / no longer in my grasp / withdraw from life support / forevermore”). Drummer Raeph Glicken and guitarist Gary Bennett soon follow with an aggressive sound ripping its way through the stereo—this is dark music.

“Crippling” is a dark and ambient introduction to “The Evil Of All Roots”, which further anchors the band safely within the genres of extreme metal. However, I detect a hint of hardcore in the mix. Is this a nod to the band’s musical roots with Kill Your Idols? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it’s a tasty combo and Black Anvil balance the pitch black metal with the lethal hardcore beautifully. A track like “Ultimate Reality” fuses mid-tempo heaviness with faster, groovy breaks—it whips the neck into action, not with hype but with blood and sweat. Black Anvil‘s music is the kind that will be confined to the metal racks at the record stores, the playlists on heavy radio stations, and at gigs in sweaty clubs all over the land. Just the way we like it.

I’ve learned that the band covered Celtic Frost on their debut album, and the inpiration still sticks—that band’s heavier-than-thou attitude are clearly visible on the slower tracks on Triumvirate, but Black Anvil mixes is up with their aforementioned, faster hardcore roots. That results in a record that carves out it’s own pathway in extreme metal, while still being true to their influences.

Triumverate probably won’t be remembered as a Master Of Puppets, Number Of The Beast or In Rock. However, it’s a fun ride while it lasts and it’s good enough to warrant repeated returns to the turntable. Triumvirate probably won’t win over any new fans to black metal, but fans of extreme metal might find a new favorite band in Black Anvil.

Try: 1, 4, 9, 10

01. What Is Life If Not Now!
02. Crippling
03. The Evil Of All Roots
04. Ultimate Reality
05. Angels To Dust
06. We Own You
07. Scalping
08. Eliminate
09. Dead And Left
10. With Transparent Blood


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