Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mongrel's Cross - The Sins Of Aquarius

Mongrel's Cross's debut album ''The Sins Of Aquarius'' is nothing new to me. In fact, I was awaiting the explosion of the album with wide eyes when suddenly, I found the album right at my fingertips. Australia's is damn well know for its soldiers of bestial black and death metal, so black/thrash goodness wouldn't really surprise many. It's actually good that Aussie's offering so much quality black/thrash/death, because the current scene is plagued with scores of bands inferior to their masters in all ways, and now a retro-thrash trend seems to be rising, wherein pathetic thrash metal bands flourish their mediocrity with boring, blatant black metal aspects, such as raspy vocals and a few tremolos here and there, and then they tend to call themselves black/thrash. Mongrel's Cross are no where near these befouling imitators, and see through their well composed debut album if you don't believe me. With this, the fine line between retro black/thrash doppelgangers and true, old school black/thrashers are drawn vividly, bringing the dim, challenging and dynamically driven flavor of black/thrash back on the table.

It's obvious that Mongrel's Cross has driven black/thrash towards the extremity of death metal, thus renewing the genre's sharpness, but influences are still pretty clear, so don't expect to find any ground braking music here. Monstrous it is, but Mongrel's Cross is fueled by a constant source of punk and crushing death metal brutality, a crucial crutch in the formation of the separate links that would later be attached to each other. The band's to the atmosphere of the riffs and encompassing nihilism is also notable, thriving the disdainful riffs. The production, I must admit, is more muffled than I expected, and a raw edge surrounds the music as you delve into it. The music is still accessible yes, but dispersed arrays of black metal distortion fly through the air as if vaporized, and so a rich atmosphere is born from almost nothing, though still failing to commit to complete ambiance throughout. The comings and goings of the production may irritate some, but in no way is it tedious or agitating, and actually pretty exciting considering the diffusing resonance that it adds. While for the most part this straight, crushing and actually one dimensional black/thrash, there are moments where the black metal influence crops itself to make room for the huge death metal influence to take the spot and interact with the brutal, capacious thrash chugs, thus omitting the black metal aspect and forming a slightly different texture for the album to place itself.

Even the vocals are somehow connected to death metal as the they sound like black metal rasps and death metal growls coexisting. I'd say the death metal tone is more prominent, though with such volatile maneuvers, its admittedly hard to follow their path, evolving, evaporating into different tones with each song and maybe even each riff. While you spend half your time trying to catch up with previous riff, another one clutches you by the neck and drives a poison laden blade through your spine. Painful. Even though I love these sorts of robust incursions of brutal thrash and bestial black hybrids, it may sometimes fail to grab the whole of you with derivative riffing constantly pursuing you, but some cantankerous and maybe somber additions to the album's aggressive arsenal of riffs makes the experience worth the investment. Take ''When The Dragon Gives Birth'' for example. There are many elements which make it more unique than one dimensional black/thrash/death barrages like ''Rabid Inception'' or the title track, though don't get me wrong, raw and blunt aggression is the main attraction of the album. I hear the classic waves of Gospel Of The Horns, Vomitor, Nocturnal Graves and Destroyer 666 to be repeated during the first sequences, but towards the end, the track matures from almost abrasive black metal bestiality into a somber, grim piece of tremulous black metal, laden with melody and dotted with smatterings of a more atmospheric side of black metal. Mongrel's Cross keep you eagerly hunting for their brand of Australian blackened death/thrash, and while the whole exhibit was nothing too original or even intricate for that manner, it certainly does replenish the old school sound, sending copious amounts of retro-thrash groups running to their masters.

The Sins Of Aquarius
When The Dragon Gives Birth
Indulge The Temple

Rating: 87,5%

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