Out To Die
posted on 4/2012 By:
It’s no secret amongst my metal-reviewing peers that I’m not the biggest consumer of thrash. I have an appreciation for a solid chunk of it, but the music just doesn’t consistently resonate with me the way other genres are capable of doing. Aura Noir has always been a completely different story, and a story in which their wicked blend of blackened thrash not only resonated, but dominated. This Norwegian group has been around for well over a decade, and they have a wrecking ball of confidence that has accumulated from years of releasing great material.
Out to Die kicks things off with “Trenches”, a churning track with fantastic tribal-inspired drumming and viciously solid vocals. Sure, the shouting rasps are fairly one-dimensional, but they suit the music’s ferocious focus. There’s quite a bit of black metal amidst the thrash, but the songs don’t blend into one another as a banal barrage of blast beats. This variety in the rhythm section, combined with swiftly executed riffs, makes for an engaging half-hour of hellish headbanging anthems.
Some of the riffage is fairly simple, but never simplistic, and each song has an infectious devil-may-care attitude. “The Grin From the Gallows” explores Aura Noir’s doomier side, with captivating results. Taken out of the context of the record, it may come off as a bit melodramatic, but placed between “Abaddon” and “Withheld”, it offers a satisfying change of pace.
The production? It’s a little rough around the edges, but that’s a fantastic part of the album. It’s sensibly mixed, without falling into a chasm of buzzing and inarticulate layering. It’s hard to find much fault with this album, other than the fact that it doesn’t take very many structural risks. Still, their vigorously paced brand of thrash has a brilliant blackened dominance all the way through, and the band’s energy seems to leap from the speakers and shake the audience into submission.
This is a snarling record that has enough bite to rile up even the most languid of listeners. Out to Die invites you to swing into the passenger seat of a speeding car in the dead of night, hurtling toward some unknown pugilist’s paradise. There’s a dangerous air to the album, but not to the musicianship, and the trio takes their undeniable skills and cakes them in a thick layer of grit and grime. Their intensity has dynamics, but the urgent pace never grows stale with repetition or mid-tempo malarkey. This isn’t a pretty little thrash album, it’s a nasty overture of aggression.
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