Monday, October 12, 2009
Helll's Thrash Horsemen - ...Till Violence
After all the Butterfly Temple and Bestial releases I could handle, I developed the notion that Russia was a total metal wasteland. And so, I've been prepared to accept the fact that Igor Stravinsky would be the sole musical export I would remember the country by. Luckily, after a reccommendation, I got in contact with Nik Komshukov, Hell's Thrash Horsemen guitarist. After a brief wait, their debut album, "...Till Violence," landed in my mailbox in pure foreign glory - covered in bizarre symbols, government stickers and a kaleidoscopic jumble of cyrillic letters like a Christmas present wrapped by Czar Nicholas or Lenin or that dog from Disney's Anastasia. Regardless of who sent me the thing, I was impressed - not so much that I would fly to the Motherland to bow to the guys, but "... Till Violence" has all the aspects of what I liked about the more recent Kreator releases.
Kreator, though at first I thought an appropriate comparison, after a while didn't quite fit... as evidenced by my above scribble and edits (---->). A more honest analysis would be to describe the Horsemen as a less dissonant version of modern Voivod with Pantera groove... hell "Serial Man" basically copies the infamous "Walk" riff. But the strong production, little -core influence and a certain appreciated amount of groove - Pantera or post-Horrorscope Overkill style - gives the album the sense of being the umpteenth album from a classic band rather than a new band's first album or anything a retro-thrash band would pump out. The awkward yet intense English lyrics make for a charming listen. HTH's namesake track remains my favorite though not any one song steals the show.
Rounding out the album is a cover of Testament's "The Preacher" done HTH style. With one cover, an intro track and short instrumental, the seven track album feels short. Only four songs are real songs. I would have loved to have seen one or two more original, full length tracks with slightly less groovy riffs, slightly less chugging and more of the intricacies which I know Nik and second guitarist Andy are capable of writing. "...Till Violence" is a great debut that dispays a good new band with a style that they can mold into practically anything... We'll see where they take their brand of thrash in the future.