Black Anvil - Triumvirate
Relapse Records
Black metal
10 songs (41:12)
Release year: 2010
Official Myspace, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
Black Anvil reappear with their first proper album on Relapse, after the label re-released their debut, Time Insults the Mind, last year. That album was a strong blend of surprisingly grim black metal (considering the band’s NYHC roots), with hard rocking death and roll, the latter adding a needed sense of fun and groove. But Triumvirate sounds a little bit more serious. It is a varied album, trying its hand at icy blasting and slower brooders, but it always retains a dour, venomous character from start to finish. The band has taken another step into the realm of black metal, leaving other frivolities behind... mostly.

At times this is excellent. Opener What is Life if Life Not Now! is a well-crafted black metal song, its powerful, early Mayhem-inspired assault navigating some intelligent and distinctive melodic ideas, even if it loses momentum when the tempo drops. Something similar could be said for The Evil of All Roots, which wrestles with hooky, almost Melechesh-like lines before again losing some intensity through its sudden jolts into slower and sludgier ideas. The diverting melodicism of Angels to Dust, which invokes early Dissection, seems to confirm that the band is best when it blasts. But after eight tracks, the penultimate Dead and Left finally emerges to dispel that notion, demonstrating a promising ability to merge blackened sensibility with slower tempos. In fact, this is the high point of Triumvirate, with an insistent, striding groove, addictive riffing and Delaney’s impressive snarl which straddles the line between blackened hiss and death metal retch. It sounds completely imperious and in less than five minutes establishes the band’s credentials as an extreme metal act capable of competing with the underground’s most warlike veterans.

Just like on Time Insults the Mind, however, they cannot resist hurling a spanner into the works at the death. The tenth and final track, With Transparent Blood, suddenly injects several shots of hard riffing adrenaline, welcoming a rock and roll sensibility back to the party just as you think it will fail to turn up. Even here, though, Black Anvil bring in elements of a vicious black metal tremolo, setting hard rock riff and blastbeat against each other in a broken glass-wielding bar brawl.

This band continues to tread a distinctive path, and one that deserves a wider following. Sometimes they sit too close to that middle ground; where bands with their roots elsewhere adopt the elements of black metal but don’t seem quite to convey its, for want of a better word, aura. But at other points it feels like the band are developing a blended sound of their own that can easily match the best. Slightly inconsistent, but with several great moments.

Killing Songs :
Dead and Left, With Transparent Blood
Charles quoted 80 / 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 - Time Insults the Mind reviewed by Charles and quoted 78 / 100
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