Black Anvil - Time Insults the Mind
Relapse Records
Black/Death Metal
9 songs (36:00)
Release year: 2008
Official Myspace, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
Quite what the story behind this album is remains something of a mystery to me, having just been sent the thing by Relapse with little other information to go on. This seems to be a Relapse re-release of a record released in 2008 on Momentum, although I must confess ignorance as to why it’s worked out that way (for the purposes of the review I’m classing it as a new release). What I do know, is that this is something of an unusual beast; veterans of the NYC hardcore scene (they are all also in Kill Your Idols), turning their hand to black metal, and embarking on regional tours with supposed Ikea furniture namesakes Marduk along the way.

Does that association hint at the sound to be found on Time Insults the Mind? Are we to expect a relentlessly blasting “norsecore” assault, with perhaps some “epic” brooders thrown in to give it a sense of Satanic grandeur? As a matter of fact, no. As is perhaps unsurprising for a band with roots in such a different environment, this a bit slower, and with a heavier sense of groove, and dare I say slightly subtler. Indeed, it’s not so much “black metal” at all; instead, it’s blackened extreme metal, perhaps vaguely comparable to D666 or Aura Noir, at least superficially. Opener, the humorously-named Margin for Terror, has an intriguing sound that sits somewhere between those bands, with its warlike tremolo melodies, and recent Satyricon’s snarling black-leather-clad swagger. Thus the album continues, winding its way through effectively grooving hardcore hangovers and enthusiastic accelerations into blasting territory.

But whilst they’ve adjusted pretty well to the latter, the former, the chuggers, are still the high-points. (Like the very comparable Goatwhore, they don’t sound truly naturalised in the realm of ghastly Euro black metal, despite Paul Delaney’s grasp of the vocal style). Deathsomnia, for example, is a standout. Its crawling, leaden-footed juggernaut riffs hold an extra treat in store, when they change gear unexpectedly into an Entombed-style “death and roll” (horrible term, but here it works) thunderer, replete with a fun widdly blues-rock solo. It’s at these moments I realise that the Swedish legends are, when the album is at its best, the real musical forefathers of Time Insults the Mind (despite the blackened aesthetics and posturing). That’s decidedly a good thing; more people expanding the Wolverine Blues legacy is a welcome addition to the metallic landscape of 2009. Or if you want to keep the references black, there’s a definite sense of the Carpathian Forest in there as well. As a final twist (bar the grand finale cover version) it leaves you on a real high, with the widdly-riffed galloping of L.T.H.L.T.K perhaps surpassing anything that’s gone before it with its uncharacteristically ‘80s-tinged heavy metal charge.

Anyway, as with the aforementioned Goatwhore, there is perhaps an underlying absence of true evil that is symptomatic of sludge (or in this case hardcore) musicians entering extreme metal realms. (This is excluding the closing Celtic Frost cover, Dethroned Emperor, where the menace is tangible). But in this case there is enough interest, and enough of a sense of fun, to compensate. The band sound like they’re having a great time, particularly Delaney, whose vocals styles encompass an impressive repertoire of metallic impersonations throughout the course of the album. All in all, a credible, non-earth-shattering metal record.

Killing Songs :
Deathsomnia, L.T.H.L.T.K.
Charles quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Black Anvil that we have reviewed:
Black Anvil - As Was reviewed by Andy and quoted 80 / 100
Black Anvil - Hail Death reviewed by Neill and quoted 90 / 100
Black Anvil - Triumvirate reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
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