Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Pitch Black Mentality-The Pitch Black Reality

Casket Records

Norway's Pitch Black Mentality, which was formed in 2008, started off a Metallica-tribute band. The group was a collaboration between Alejandro Silva Power Cuarteto guitarist/solo artist Jarle H Olsen and guitarist Frank Natås. The pair, having presumably meet while they were both members of one-time black metal outfit Lidskjalv, decided to piece together a new outfit that would combine the heaviness of thrash metal with some of the subtle-nuances of melodic metal. Eventually they would add seasoned musician Tore Christer Storlid (Brutallica, Artificial Comfort, Mahirim and Audrey Horne) as their bassist/vocalists and would enlist the services of drummer Bjarte K. Helland (Brutallica, Mahirim, Artificial Comfort) as well. Interesting enough Bjarte K Helland had also contributed to Jarle H Olsen's solo career so there was an addition connection there. Now, while these four seem to be the final line-up for Pitch Black Memtality, things are a little vague (promo-wise) when it comes down to actually handled bass and drum duties on this recording. Two studio-musicians, Rodrigues Garcia and Cristian Carrsco Lara, are said to have "helped form the quartet as studio/session musicians on bass and drums". So, while it's clear that Jarle and Frank handle guitars and Tore Christer Storlid is the lead vocalist, who helped with the bass and drum duties on "The Pitch Black Reality" is a question I'd love to know the answer to. I mean shouldn't we give the proper credit to those involved in making this 9-track album the rage-fest that it is? At least we know who we have to thank for the fantastic solos on "The Pitch Black Reality" (Jarle H Olsen) and the sweet, Scott Ian/James Hetfield-like rhythm guitar (Frank Natås). Take away the melodic metal part for a second and we're talking about thrash that is straight out of the same handbooks of groups like Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Heathen and Metallica. Speaking of Metallica, Tore Christer Storlid has a bit of James Hetfield going for him while Frank's clean/backing vocals are much more smooth. Again, I'm guessing on this part as it's not exactly spelled out. So, if Frank provides the smooth/clean vocals (which have a melodic, metal-core quality about them) then kudos to him. But, if it's all Storlid then we are talking about one hell of a lead vocalist with some kick-ass range! Either way the vocals work great on an album like this. Here we're talking about a thrash band that is aware of it's own influences (Metallica cover band all), but refuses to sound like either a copy-cat act or like they are on some retro-thrash kick! To that end the production works side by side with the music on "The Pitch Black Reality" in order to give everything a modern feeling while also understanding that thrash metal (or at least real thrash metal) needs to maintain it's rough appearance if it's going to work. As it was original a self-released affair, with Casket Records seemingly snagging these guys up in a moment of brilliant thinking, that is even more impressive. Although I see it more and more these days it still strikes me as a cool thing when bands, lacking the proper budget that a record label you would hope would provide, goes it alone and records a studio-album that sounds just as good as anything from a signed act! Anytime that happens I'm going to give proper credit to a band as it's not as easy as it sounds folks (even in this day and age of home studios). Anyway, this album, which was mixed by Tommy Hansen at Jailohuse Studios (Helloween, TNT, JORN, D.A.D) in Denmark, was seemingly constructed with thrash metal fanatics in mind as it's like a step-by-step instructional manual on the subject. Great lead solos? Check. A lead vocalist who is intimidating and yet comes across as a every-man? Check. Killer rhythm guitar? Check. And finally does it have a deadly serious rhythm section? Check. It's all there on this 9-track album that has me excited to hear real thrash metal. Now that is nice! If that sounds like something you could get into as well then keep an eye out for this record. You won't be sorry!

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