Black Anvil - Hail Death
Relapse Records
Thrash/Black Metal
10 songs (71:43)
Release year: 2014
Official Myspace, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Neill

One thing I love about music is discovering a new band. Even if the band has ben around for sometime, there'e nothing quite like hearing a band for the first time and being blown away. New York's Black Anvil is that band for me at the moment. I admit first and foremost I am not really a fan of Thrash metal, and never have been. However, as soon as I first heard the track Eventide I had to hear more of this record. I listened to the album, and listened to it again, and again, and so on. I can't seem to get enough, and this album has worked its way to the top of my playlist quite easily. To me, Hail Death is one of the better albums I've heard so far this year.

There are some cliches in the band's music for sure. It's not all original or different. Black metal and thrash influences, gang vocals, melodic, slower intros before the fast songs kick in, it's something we've al heard before. However, Black Anvil are masters of blending these styles, influences, and components together into a strong album. The riffs on the album ( especially in the track Seven Stars Unseen) are catchy, and really strong. The vocals are snarled and really give off the attitude the band and album are representing. The drums are catchy and kick and the bass adds so much to the album, making it thick and really adding an extra punch. I find myself head banging to this album pretty much the entire way through, which again, for a person that have never liked thrash much, is a huge compliment.

The production on the album is clear and fits perfectly. Everything can be heard, and it really has a punchy sound. Being that the band is from New York, and has some thrash and hardcore influences, it really comes through. The attitude and feeling of raw aggression and intense personalities shine through, making the album feel real, and not just some robotic album done for the hell of it. The band has a purpose, and the production on the record (as well of course as the lyrics, and songwriting) really show this off. There are some fantastic leads on the album as well, really technical, melodic, and work within the song itself and don't seem as an after thought ( or make the rest of the song seem like an afterthought).

Not everything on the album is perfect. Personally, I am not big on gang vocals, but most of the time on the album they are done well, and sparingly. However, on the track N they end the song and go on for some time. It really takes me out of the track, and does get to me quite a bit. Further, the songs are pretty long, and in some cases do drag a bit. Redemption Through Blood really does nothing for me, and Next Level Black, while not bad song, does seem too long (at over 11 and a half minutes) and could easily have been cut down. The clean vocals on the record in some of the background vocals, but especially on Next Level Black and the KISS cover Under The Rose are a nice change of pace on the record, but are fairly hit and miss as they are uninspired and weak compared to the harsh vocals at times. They work in some tracks, and not so much in others.

Despite a few flaws on the album, which really are pretty minimal, this album is easily one of the beset I've heard this year. Seven Stars Unseen is one of the best metal tracks I've heard this year and I can't hear it enough. The rest of the album is really strong as well. I hear quite a bit of Goatwhore in the band, which is another big compliment. The good on this record far, far outweighs the bad. The riffs are very strong, and the leads really make the album stand out. This is the band's third album, and really shows quite a bit of advancement in songwriting and overall tightness. It really feels like the band has taken all their influence and was able to work it together into something very strong. I would urge everyone to listen to this album now, as this album deserves to be heard and enjoyed.

Killing Songs :
Seven Stars Unseen, Still Reborn, Until The End, Eventide
Neill quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Black Anvil that we have reviewed:
Black Anvil - Triumvirate reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
Black Anvil - Time Insults the Mind reviewed by Charles and quoted 78 / 100
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