Die Hard - Nihilistic Visions
Agonia Records
10 songs (40:35)
Release year: 0
Agonia Records
Reviewed by Charles
No prizes for guessing who this band are paying homage to… Even aside from the band name, the Venom-worship is clear. The sleeve that comes with my promo copy (which is not the official album cover- that is a slightly bland CGI skulls job) features the band in finger-gesturing, bullet-belt wearing mode bathed in extremely-1980s pink lighting reminiscent of Suspiria. The album is very obviously done light-heartedly; tongue-in-cheek Satanist bellowing, in vocalist Hasse’s Cronos-heavy delivery, and even “sex noise” samples that recall, to me at least, the intent behind tracks like Teacher’s Pet.

Musically, it does bear the hallmark of more recent black metal developments- hell, the drummer is the guy from Watain. Very 21st century blastbeats are used as a means of adding extra power to the post-NWOBHM and proto-extreme metal style that they draw straight from Black Metal. There’s also a major thrash influence, as with Hidden Face, for example, which also features call-and-response gang vocals, making it sound a little like Bonded By Blood’s sleazier older brother. In fact, perhaps for these reasons, I find this to be more characterful and energetic than recent comeback efforts from its inspiration. Opener Into the Desolate Halls of Death has a massive old-school riff that swings more than anything on Hell, for example. Generally Nihilistic Visions is faster, and it is far more dynamic as well. Solos are often well-executed and effective, if they are generally kept unobstrusive. The title track, for example, draws a lot of heat from tightly harmonised widdling.

So despite its obviously derivative nature- often it feels like a tribute, rather than an original statement in its own right- I have a lot of praise for this album. There are plenty of killer moments, plenty of monster riffs. As a retro pastiche of an exciting time for metal, you'd have to work hard to beat it.

Killing Songs :
Into the Desolate Halls of Death, Mercenaries of Hell, Ride the Incubus
Charles quoted 77 / 100
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