Mid-November through the end of a calendar year typically is a dead zone for new music. Most of the good, vital stuff already has been released so people can buy it up for the holidays and so they can make the year-end lists. Tough for those late releases to get the respect some of them rightfully deserve.
Well, 2014 is turning into a different story. There’s a lot of good, worthy stuff still to be released, even if some of it still seems to be flying under the proverbial radar. A good example of that is “Global Purification,” the sixth release from long-running Dutch death metal band Thanatos. This band is 30 years into their run together, and while they’re only averaging a new record every five years or so, they have proved less can sometimes be more. The new one, a 10-track scorcher that runs just under 40 minutes, is devastating and passionate, something you can’t say about a good deal of the newer death bands out there, and it comes via Century Media, one of the largest metal labels in the world. It’s a digital-only release, sadly, here in the States, but that shouldn’t bug a lot of people hungry for some fire-breathing death.
Along with what these guys have done with Thanatos since 1984, its members dot other notable bands such as Hail of Bullets and Asphyx. Guitarist/vocalist Stephan Gebedi is your sole remaining original member, and he sounds as pissed off and channeled as he ever has before. He’s just blazing on this thing, especially when it comes to his furious vocals. Along with him are guitarist Paul Bayeens (himself a member since 1999), bassist Marco de Bruin, and drummer Yuri Rinkel (who did time in Mesopotamian-inspired death band Melechesh). I can’t stress enough how full of energy and chaos this record is, and it’s one you definitely should not rule out hearing before you compile your own best-of-2014 list. It’s one of the best things Century Media released this year, right behind Triptykon’s and Morbus Chron’s new opuses.
Strange industrial noises greet you at the start of the opening title cut, but that doesn’t last long as the guys bulldoze that wall and start their campaign. This is speedy death with its eyes set on engulfing everything with madness, and the gruff vocals paired with blistering drums help set the tone. “The Murder of Innocence” is built with punchy death riffs, more drums that seem hell bent on tearing down barriers, and even some spacious leads to inject atmosphere into the warzone. “Infestation of the Soul” is grimy at the start, with the vocals sounding absolutely brutal and the riffs cutting everything down. Gebedi later howls, “The terror won’t stop, the pain will never end,” as the rest of the band hits you with so much power, you can’t help but heed those words. “Queen of Gore” is a real treat and even feels a bit like early Carcass in spots. The song is outright devastating, with a sick glee coming through in the vocal delivery, and the chorus is both really catchy and wholly violent. “Nothing Left” levels you with Gebedi’s declaration, “Life as we know it is based upon lies,” while the band unleashes off-kilter playing and razor-sharp lead guitar lines.
“World Jihad” sounds like that very thing, with crazed and fast playing, angry vocals to hammer the message home, and some great dual lead lines that give the track a nice classic metal feel. “The Demonized Minority” is slow-driving and mean at first, but then it explodes with a punishing thrash attack and more tremendous soloing that, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is a recurring element on this record. “Feeding the War Machine” doesn’t need terribly close dissection lyrically to pull apart the meaning of this song, and the way the band plays, it seems like they’re fighting tooth and nail against that oppressive, blood-shedding authority. The song utterly destroys shit. “Blood Will Be Spilled” has splattering drums that pepper you with punches, though the bulk of the track is nasty and calculated as it picks its spots. Gebedi goes off, shouting the song’s title over and over while the band puts their boots to your throat. Closer “Bastion of Blasphemy” is a fitting finale, as the band takes its final shots, especially vocally as the words seem to drip with a little extra venom. The guitar work burns brightly again, driving the song to an end that’s adorned with war noises and the sounds of hell on earth.
These guys might not get the ink and attention of Arch Enemy or … gulp down bile … Butcher Babies, but they absolutely deserve that kind of exposure. Three decades haven’t slowed down Thanatos, and perhaps the time between records has worked to keep their embers blazing. Whatever it is, these guys are still killing, still taking serious shots at the forces that annoy them, and still have what it takes to leave you a heaving, bloody mess. Now pay them the proper respect by checking out “Global Purification,” one of the most genuine slabs of death Century Media released this year.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/thanatos333
To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://centurymedia.com/