Deströyer 666 - Cold Steel for an Iron Age
Season Of Mist
Blackened Death/Thrash
9 songs (35:22)
Release year: 2002
Deströyer 666, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Charles
Archive review
Now that we are eagerly anticipating Defiance, after several years of silence in which the band’s future seems to have been touch-and-go, it’s a good time to revisit 2002’s Cold Steel for an Iron Age. For my money superior to its predecessor, Phoenix Rising, this album is a masterpiece of extreme metal. I see Destroyer 666 as I see Absu. Both bands have hacked a raggedly distinctive shape from the obscene tapestry that is extreme metal by avoiding the prescriptive categorisation of sounds into one of the three prongs of the death/black/thrash pitchfork. This is extreme metal in its untamed glory, not neatly shaped into a particular stylistic model.

It doesn’t try overwhelm you with heaviosity or brutality. It’s an agile and clever album that hits you from angle after angle, leaving you in a twitching heap. Its base is a seething, livid metal sound brought to furious life by the sometimes thrashing, sometimes crushingly blackened percussion, but the guiding force are the guitar riffs. They are gleaming slabs of breathless horror, picking out the most merciless killing blows. Savage Pitch is unreal; a blackened thrash mauling punctured by spine jolting NWOBHM-like semiquavers, and sneering lead squeals.

This is indeed where you will find some of the 21st century’s finest riffs. Opener Black City – Black Fire is a parade of insistent, shouty hobgoblins. Indeed, the same could be said for any song here, although a particular favourite is Clenched Fist; ghastly rising death-thrash lines are subsumed by cackling solos, like a grubby undead horde of pumped up, athletic Return of the Living Dead-style zombies. The fist-pumping, militaristic vocal shouts add to this beautifully. This is communally-orientated music, a rallying cry for metal comrades. Although dare I say it, there is a level of anthemic punkish venom on occasional display too, as with Sons of Perdition.

It’s both original and old school, but old school in the best possible sense. There are no shortage of bands that enthusiastically present themselves as “80s death metal” or classic retro thrash, keen to identify themselves with a very particular tradition of music. But records like Scream Bloody Gore and Altars of Madness used extremity as a battering ram to create something unprecedented, they weren’t simply running up the brutal colours. Cold Steel is a blade that shreds perfunctory musical borderlines, but the hands in which it is wielded are as savagely tribal as anyone could wish for. In that sense, it is the most authentic update on the days of early extreme metal, as well as offering something fresh for today’s metal masses.

Killing Songs :
Black City - Black Fire, Savage Pitch
Charles quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Deströyer 666 that we have reviewed:
Deströyer 666 - Defiance reviewed by Charles and quoted 89 / 100
Deströyer 666 - Phoenix Rising reviewed by Crims and quoted 90 / 100
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