March Into Firelands
Finland is well known for its black metal scene, but not much for its thrash scene, so on March Into Firelands, Flame combines the best of those worlds into a volcanic brew of scalding brimstone! Black Realm of Satanas gets this the steamroller moving with equal parts bashing black metal speed and subterranean thrashing menace, sort of like a less melodic Nifelheim meets Sarcofago. After a plodding doomy initial phase, Doomed plows straight-ahead with blasts of rhythmic speed and demonic vocals. The song downshifts slightly into a smattering of rapid-fire thrash a la early Kreator. Then it breaks down into a whirlpool of groove accented by squealing harmonics. A salvo of incoming thrashing and circular drum patterns greets your ears on Burning Horror. A mild subcurrent of traditional metal riffage hides beneath the waves of blackened thrash which is highlighted by a killer guitar break at the 2:35-ish mark. The pomp of Bathory's more developed and atmospheric material opens Fireland. The music is still raw but the Bathory-ish subtext is there. The song moves along at a measure pace, never really cutting loose. That stands in stark contrast to the explosion of blast beats on Rites of Endless Hatred, a song of lightning fast movements and slithering rhythms. This track's relentless energy and drive make it my favorite on the album and its haunting aspects are instilled by a cold melody and layered vocal chants. Though not quite as memorable as the bands I have compared them to, Flame is a demonic concoction of molten thrash and fiery black metal that leaves your eardrums scorched inside the depths of your skull.