Saturday, May 11, 2013
Terrorist - And Then Life Was Death 
Terrorist are one of the better, if not more memorable groups of the black/thrash revival of the last few years. Surely, you've heard of their sound before, nothing quite out of the ordinary; sweltering drum work, voracious riffs that both seethe and tear your flesh apart, and the horrendous, reverb-doused gutturals that reek of a certain resonant Australian bliss you'll find pretty damn familiar. It's not like this flippant horde of cadaverous revivalists can be stopped, so the only thing left to do is to embrace the upcoming flurry. Now, it'll please you to hear that Terrorist have some history behind them; a range of demos and splits alongside a full-length, which, despite being heralded as nice addition to a collector's set of records, still hasn't got got the popularity it aimed to get, and now, the Texans are once again on the march, with a sophomore, ''And Then Life Was Death''. I too must confide that I couldn't quite find anything fresh and overly appealing, but the veritable range of gruesome lyrical content and spurious riffing still held some quality.
Listening to Terrorist is like spectating a cemetery brawl between numerous undead creeps and skeletal apparitions, even though the band's name may suggest something rather political. ''And Then Life Was Death'' is essentially a composite of the archaic thrash and death/thrash offerings of the 80's; Possessed, early Slayer, Morbid Saint, Kreator circa 1984-1986, Hellhammer at speedier gait, and the earliest reminisces of Death for the added drudge and archaic texture, but whenever it feels a little more feral, the band members may shift to something more extreme; raw, voracious outbursts that ultimately resemble Blasphemy and Bestial Warlust at their primitive height, so, despite being a rather frivolous release compared to the myriad of offerings we've heard over the last decade, its articulate attitude renders it robust. The guitars are crunchy, outrageous, even though hardly overwhelming, and they swerve alongside the rumbling drum patterns with surprising ease and flexibility, and, most important of all: clarity. The vocals, so redolent of the late 80's' black/death/thrash transition, are quite haunting and deliberately nettling (in a good way), and they intertwine with the wonderfully spurious, whammy-ridden lead sequences to produce that carnal tumult that every old school death/thrash aficionado loves.
Certain tracks (''Lord Of Deceit'') are far more attached to the black/thrash genre hybrid's speedy breed than any other track on the album, and some may be more elegiac (''Horror Rises From The Tomb''), with mid-paced proto death/doom riffing, and some may ultimately be composed of what this album is all about (''Onward Destroyer''), but the overall stench is foul, and it reeks intermittently throughout. In the end, despite its simpleminded approach, ''And Then Life Was Death'' is capable of producing major induction for the gloried of an angry, perverted headbanger, and it successfully preserves its alacrity, too. Sure, I wouldn't have minded a smidgen more variation (though the album needs a chock load of variation in order to properly stand out and cast a wider, fleshier net), and certain moments were droning gnaw, but Terrorist have the fangs long and acute enough to clench and bite into your flesh, and rip out a surprisingly exciting chunk out from the mass. The tales of the grave have once more been recounted, and I'm still having a hell of a lot fun.
And Then Life Was Death