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Black Pestilence - Urban Hell Rhythmics

Black Pestilence
Urban Hell Rhythmics
by Max Elias at 08 June 2019, 11:37 PM

A band named BLACK PESTILENCE might sound like black metal, but this has more in common with thrash. From the galloping riffs to the bass rolls on ‘Artificial’, the band oozes classic thrash. There is a slightly blackened influence in the production perhaps, but even the more tremolo-heavy riffs come off as tech-thrash rather than black metal. The vocals are definitely black metal-inspired, with hoarse screams replacing angry barks. What the music might not have in straight black metal influence, the lyrics definitely do; for proof look at the song ‘D.I.Y 666’. It embraces the Satanic obsession of a lot of black metal and the more extreme side of the thrash canon (think Slayer or Possessed). The guitars are a little blacker on this one, but the drumming is still quintessential thrash attack.

The bass-heavy ‘Hymns For The Black Mass’ continues the Satanism. A slinking bass riff opens the song and leads into a pounding, primal riffing experience. The very short song still manages to cram in lots of riffs and time for each instrument to have its moment. ‘Vertex’ recalls Annihilator, albeit with slightly murkier production. The haunting whisper of the vocals lend a fearful atmosphere to the song. Several breaks for this occur in the song. As with the last track, the bass is given a star role here, which is unique given that a lot of metal—even the most classic of albums (cough cough …AJFA cough cough)—has fairly inaudible bass.

When the band takes us ‘Back to the Underground’ they do so in classic East Coast 80s thrash fashion, with plenty more bass. The punk-influenced riffs that were a hallmark of the scene in its golden days are interwoven with fills throughout. This is a song that rests purely on its aggressive force; no solo, scant melody, just fury. A lot of metal, even if the drummer is the most important member of the band, can usually be thought of as guitar-driven; this album is unmistakably bass-driven. It’s hard to imagine what a song like ‘Digital Degeneration’ would sound like if the bass were less prominent. Certainly much of the acrobatics would be lost to listeners’ ears. Since I mentioned the drums, they shine here as well, the double-bass chugging given added weight with sporadic cymbal hits. The song and album in general rests on the groove provided by these two instruments, rather than the strength of any standout riffs. On the other hand, because of this, by the time we get to ‘Devil of My Life’, it’s hard to come up with new things to say about the music.

‘Deny The System’ starts with a more hard rock beat and riff, which it expands on for maximum groove potential. During the choruses it hardens into a brasher metallic assault, with rapid triplet drumming and once again, an active bassline. ‘Countess of Dominion’ isn’t a bad song, but it’s not a different song either. Although the band is not black metal, similarly to a lot of black metal, the emphasis seems to be on atmosphere rather than specifics.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Artificial
2. D.I.Y. 666
3. Hymns For The Black Mass
4. Vertex
5. Back to the Underground
6. Digital Degeneration
7. Devil of my Life
8. Deny the System
9. Countess of Dominion
Valax - Vocals/Bass/Samples
Daniel Toews - Guitar
Davey Hellfire - Drums
Record Label: Corpse Torture Records


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