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Condor - Unstoppable Power

Unstoppable Power
by Daniel Stefanov at 01 August 2017, 8:23 AM

Norwegian. Black. Metal. Rings out like "German automobiles" and "American burgers", doesn't it? Norwegian black metal just sounds right. It sounds as if the world is in order again. Listening to Norwegian black metal makes me think there's at least one thing that I'm doing right. CONDOR is not exactly black metal, though, it's blackened thrash, but it retains much of the same feeling. "Unstoppable Power" is their second full-length album after the eponymous 2013 debut. The style has evolved considerably to a more refined and solid-sounding fast metal with much better vocal realization and severely improved production, compared to the flat sound of the debut. The album cover art is also a massive step forward, while retaining the genuine raw underground feel of the band.

The album opens on "Embraced by the Evil", which starts with a narration. Contrary to my expectations, the narration is short, powerful, without needless dramatization, and straight to the point - "The Unstoppable Power!" The track unleashes an unrelenting assault of fast drums and guitar riffs, topped with vigorous growling and snarling that goes on for five minutes straight. The drumming is noticeably energetic and powerful, although the cymbals get a bit too much for my taste. "Riders of Violence" upholds to the formula with even greater fanaticism, reminiscent of SODOM and blackened early KREATOR. "Chained Victims" is a technical track that shows just how serious CONDOR are about thrash, and the apparent response is "very". There is no weak spot on the track, no second of calmness, just motif transitioning to another, equally aggressive, over and over again, minor slow-downs are followed by speeding up again, like ocean waves crushing on solid black rock, the song roars and bangs and clashes for four minutes. "You Can't Escape the Fire" adds some structure to the utter chaos of pure aggression, as it has several breakdowns and slower sections, as well as a fast melodic solo near the end.

Right in the middle of the album sits the titular song "Unstoppable Power". It's a riff-driven banger, fast and brutal, and deserving of its title. The lyrics are nicely written, albeit not shining with any radiant originality - darkness, destruction, evil, death," Punishing winds of desolation / Total fucking disintegration", etc. Speaking of radiant, "83 Days of Radiation" starts almost like a hard rock track, with its catchy guitars, but soon the known brutality kicks in. Still, the song sounds pretty different than the rest on the album, with its slower pace, backing vocals and melodic riffs. A pretty long and technical instrumental part sits in the mid-section of the track. The second half of the album is overall a tiny bit slower and more melodic, "Malevolent Curse" also follows that tendency, despite being pretty harsh on its own. "Horrifier" closes the album in the same manner - bit slower than the first half, catchier riffs, and balance that is a bit further away from black and closer to thrash.

"Unstoppable Power" is a pretty solid release and a lot of fun to listen to start to finish. CONDOR give us a great follow up to their debut that improves on every aspect. Hailing from the same circles as DARKTHRONE, their style, focused on uncompromising speed, unrelenting rhythm and, well, "unstoppable power", comes closer to what PROTECTOR have been doing lately, especially around the middle of the album. The release starts raw and wild, and then does an almost linear transition into a more paced, more memorable and identifiable music.

Definitely a very strong album that any fan of the more extreme shades of thrash should like. Despite the constant full force gallop, the album is not difficult to listen to. The only thing that I would change about it are the damn cymbals, my head is ringing right now, but that is a personal preference. If you like SODOM, PROTECTOR, early KREATOR and black metal, make sure you give CONDOR's new offering a spin, it is a brilliant blend of speed and brutality, with references to early extreme thrash and a strong scent of the underground.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Embraced by the Evil
2. Riders of Violence
3. Chained Victims
4. You Can't Escape the Fire
5. Unstoppable Power
6. 83 Days of Radiation
7. Malevolent Curse
8. Horrifier
Magnus Garathun - Guitars
Christoffer Bråthen - Vocals, Bass
Øyvind Kvam - Drums (2014-Present)
Record Label: High Roller Records


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Edited 03 February 2023

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