Aphrodite - Lust and War
Fighter Records
Speed Metal
11 songs (36' 24")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Andy

It might be overly simplistic to call Aphrodite a female-fronted version of Ice War, but then, Lust and War hews to a pretty simple template. Ice War's founder, Jo Capitalicide, has gotten some good reviews in the past (including from us) by writing stripped-down, bullet-belted 80s-style heavy metal; Aphrodite combines that template (he wrote all the music) with the vocals of Demona's Tanza Speed. Far more frenetic and punk-influenced than Ice War's material, this sounds like Capitalicide listened to Znöwhite's final album and ran to get his guitar.

This isn't a bad thing; that band ranks right up there with Chastain in the female-fronted metal of the 80s, and fewer projects have copied them than...well, all the other thrash bands of the 80s. The production sounds like it's from the 80s thrash underground too, mostly because of Capitalicide's minimalism. That minimalism demands that everything be kept dirt simple: barely a hint of overdubbing on the choruses, no guitar pyrotechnics out of the lead guitarist's solos, and d-beat rhythms with a lot of double-kick for the drumming. Tanza Speed's Spanish-accented vocals, although in the habit of sliding off key on occasion, are more melodic and grate less upon the ear than did the throat-shredding yowls of Znöwhite's Nicole Lee, and they go beautifully with Capitalicide's speed-metal vibe.

It seems weird for a speed metal album to be written as a concept album about Greek mythology, but that's what Lust and War is. The musical style dominates the tracks so much, though, that the lyrics and subject matter don't seem to affect the songs' styles: The Odyssey lasts four minutes, which hardly makes it the epic that its namesake is. Just when one expects to be mindlessly blasted, though, Capitalicide tosses off a melodic hook that is guaranteed to stick in the brain for at least a week. Orpheus Charms the Gods of Death is one of these, and so is Gladiators, which sounds so purely a creation of the 80s that I presumed it to be a cover; but neither my memories nor a few searches on the Internet can turn up the original, if there is one.

Like Jo Capitalicide's more well-known projects, Lust and War is on the surface a carefully-rendered version of 80s influences, but quirky and individualized once you get into it. This strikes me as a band put together purely as a one-off rather than a long-term project, but the musicians involved bring their best to it anyway.

Killing Songs :
Pandora's Box Unleashed, Orpheus Charms the Gods of Death, Gladiators
Andy quoted 81 / 100
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