Avenger of Blood - Celestial War (CD demo) 2002
Wow! Avenger of Blood are
real thrash metal, and it's the lyrics are based on the Bible. That's hard to
come by in these musically depressed times when everyone wants to sound like
the next modern rock band. It not that, then the rest of the crowd is trying
to be the next Cannibal Corpse. Avenger of Blood utilizes Possessed/Slayer-like
thrash riffing along with plenty of speed and aggression. Of course this is
only a demo, but as such it's actually well recorded. The guitars and drums
are all done digitally so everything is quite clean. At this point, Avenger
of Blood was a one man band led by Matt Black, which isn't his real name. Can't
wait to hear more from Matt. Hope he can eventually get a whole band together
that stays this style. It's an art form that is rarely heard any more.
Avenger of Blood - Complete Annihilation (JCM Records) 2005
1. "Intro" (1:20)
I had high hopes for the first full length Avenger of Blood. After starting off life as a one man project and eventually growing into a full fledged band, Avenger of Blood have come a long way from that first "Celestial War" demo CD in '01. "Complete Annihilation" is 100% pure, unadulterated, heavy thrash metal. However, despite the band being from the good 'ol USA, they draw most of their inspiration from overseas, wearing their influences on their sleeve. Fans of Sodom, Kreator, Destruction and Coroner will probably salivate over this insane, speed-fest complete with vocals that sound a whole heck of a lot like Mille from Kreator. Every song is fast and furious with little in the way of variety in the tempo, but then I wouldn't expect anything else from a speed freak like drummer Shannon Frye (ex-Vengeance Rising/Biogenesis). The production on this CD is a bit odd in that it is very raw and a bit muddy. However, this works to the band's advantage, not unlike those early German bands previously listed. I wouldn't have minded a fatter, fuller production but as it stands "Complete Annihilation" is raw, crunchy and almost has a live sound. Lyrically the band explores themes typical to the early 1990's thrash scene; suffering, violence and dark spiritual topics. Thrash metal seems to be in a revival state in the last few years with old bands like Exodus, Nuclear Assault, and Destruction back together as well as new bands like Avenger of Blood putting out traditional thrash metal. While the old bands are great, it's good to have some new blood in the scene. "Complete Annihilation" is certainly a welcome addition to my ever growing thrash metal collection.
Avenger of Blood return with their sophomore release and have made huge strides of improvement over their debut in every area. Avenger of Blood are an American thrash band. In the last few years thrash has made a come-back with tons of new bands popping up and labels like Metal Blade and Earache signing bands with a retro-thrash sound. Most of these bands seem to be going after the chaotic, U.S., "Bonded by Blood" and "Kill 'Em All" sound. Avenger of Blood are more influenced by German bands like Kreator, Sodom, Destruction and perhaps a bit of early Slayer. Where this band has made improvements is in production, song writing and even in their performance. The production isn't overly clean. As a matter of fact, the production is rather raw and sounds as if it could have been recorded during the heyday of German thrash in the early 1990's. However, I don't think that Avenger of Blood would have it any other way. Raw guitars, coarse, aggressive vocals, insanely fast riffs, quick downbeats with that ringing snare drum. It's all there. Call it nasty, raw, or rough, but whatever you call it, it works for this band.
While the songs are still a full speed thrash assault, they have learned to give their songs a bit more variety and even slow things down from time to time. In other words, the songs all have some distinguishable characteristics and even some *GASP* hooks! However, don't let this fool you. "Death Brigade" is still 100% chaotic thrash metal. These guys proudly wear their influences on their sleeve. The German thrash influence isn't something they shy away from at all. I've read a couple reviews that criticize this band for sounding too much like Kreator and Sodom. Frankly, I don't understand what the problem is. If a jazz band plays great jazz, should that band then be criticized for not playing blues-jazz? Of course not. Avenger of Blood play thrash metal and they play it well. "Death Brigade" may not be breaking any new ground, but frankly what thrash metal fan cares about new trends? Avenger of Blood are the real deal offering metal fans a relentless thrash metal assault. Frankly I think that Avenger of Blood play with just as much heart, if not more so than some of the band's they are compared to.
Even the album cover art is an improvement over "Complete Annihilation". This time around the cover art, depicting the band as conquering skeletons was done by Joe Petagno. It would be worth owning the limited edition vinyl version of this album for the cover art alone.