Release DetailsLABEL Vendlus Records
RELEASED ON 6/15/2005
posted on 8/2005 By:
These days packages from Vendlus are received with some enthusiasm from several of us in the MetalReview camp. With high quality releases from Audiopain, V:28, and The Mist and the Morning Dew, the small label has been showing quite well as of late. Earlier this year I reviewed the excellent The Traumatizer, Audiopain’s latest full length, which was actually a 2004 release. The band is currently in the studio working on their new album, and according to a band message on Vendlus’ website, it’s “the heaviest album yet”. In the meantime, Vendlus is releasing remastered versions of the band’s first three EPs. The first two, Contagious and 1986, both released in 2000, are already available. Their third effort, Revel in Desecration, will be rereleased at a later time. Thrash fans would do well to pick up all three albums. By the time, Revel in Desecration is available and the new one is set loose, you’ll be dying for them.
These Norwegians play a bloodthirsty brand of classic thrash with some black tendencies that will appeal to fans of vintage German thrash, as well as newer bands of the Uberthrash contingent like Aura Noir, Inferno, and Nocturnal Breed. As Audiopain’s work progressed, influences from bands like Voivod and Death also started to raise their ugly, banging heads. The result is a sound that is unmistakably old school without becoming formulaic and derivative. One might make the mistake of believing that, as enthralled with the past as the band is, that Audiopain would be content to hammer out an identical sounding, history-worshipping album every year or so, but the band has already demonstrated a creative evolution over their brief career. With each release the band has refined their approach while remaining firmly entrenched in the ethos of the watershed period of the genre. (Contagious and 1986 were submitted to MetalReview together and are being reviewed at the same time, and therefore the reader will notice that up until now the reviews are the same.)
With 1986, Audiopain picked up where it had left off just months ago with Contagious, dealing out more face ripping aggression, but also fine tuning and expanding the scope of their songwriting. It will come as no surprise that the material remains firmly based in the spirit of Audiopain’s stylistic forefathers. The band titled this release 1986 as an homage to the year that they consider the musical equivalent to 0 A.D. The band even counts forward from 0, so Contagious and 1986, both from 2000, are referenced as released in Y.14. Gimmicky yes, but you have to respect their commitment.
1986 and Contagious were released in the same year, but I’d be interested to know how close together the material for each was written. For such a short period of time, 1986 shows clear advancement over the already impressive Contagious. Much of what makes this album so damn addictive is how well the band balances neck breaking thrash riffs, dissonant melodies, and Sverre Daehli’s vocals, which have become somewhat reminiscent of late-era Death, with occasional blackened howls. The band uses enough variety and atypical approaches to both scratch your itch for savagery and keep you interested to hear what the band will do next.
Just as they did on their first album, Audiopain open this effort with another full throttle, absolute screamer, in the rust cleaver thrash battery of “The Scourge”. And again, as they did on Contagious, the follow up track begins with a laid back chugging riff. It’s not hard to discern that the song is playing possum as the band takes a few deep breaths in anticipation of the inevitable messy outburst. But although the song does build to a satisfying break, instead of the typical razor sharp thrashing, the listener is met with some amphetamine laced dissonance. “Gospels From Hell” assumes a much more linear approach, as the band settles in to a blackened steam rolling midtempo death march. Then they turn around and deal out another unadulterated thrash beast in “Relinquished”. But 1986’s crowning achievement is its closer, “Glorious Beings”. During a dynamic eight minutes the track builds from slow, sustained guitars to a crushing, syncopated beat and riff work, as well as snarling, hateful work from guest vocalist Maniac (ex-Mayhem). It’s a uniformly impressive display of blackened metal, and the musicianship is likewise entirely satisfactory.
“Glorious Beings” leaves you longing for more, and several times I’ve simply pushed the Play button as soon as the disc has stopped spinning. That’s what separates Audiopain from many of their peers; a more single minded approach to thrash often leaves the listener sated and ready to move on to something else. Not so with these guys. The band went on to release Revel in Desecration (which I really need to get my hands on) and The Traumatizer, which is at least as good as this effort, if not better than this effort. Audiopain lives with one foot in the glory days of thrash, and the other continuing to search for better purchase, playing traditional thrash in a way that will appeal to more than fans of retro metal. Between their three releases I’ve heard this year, Audiopain is easily one of the best surprises of the year.
Register to post comments.
Audiopain / Nekromantheon Split EP
The Switch To Turn Off Mankind