Monday, August 26, 2013

Scythe-Subterranean Steel (North American version)

R.I.P. Records

Chicago, Illinois' act Scythe (who are, yet again, another band which shares a similar name with crap-loads of other acts) was formed in 2009. Featuring former Usurper front-man Rick Scythe (Nightshade, ex-The Dead Youth) on lead vocals and guitars, Scythe, in a way I suppose, could just be seen as the next step for Scythe's former band. But, while Usurper ended up being viewed as one of  Chicago's most legendary bands (and justly so!) when it comes to Scythe we're talking about a band that is fighting for name recognition. Or is it their just fighting to become known as THE ONE and ONLY Scythe? Who bloody knows? Another album or two like this one though and it won't matter if there were hundreds (if not thousands) of other Scythes as these guys will be standing on-top victorious! They'll most likely get there soon enough as "Subterranean Steel" shows. In much the same way Usurper forged their own nasty sound out of the better parts of black metal and thrash (somewhere around here I have a copy of their cool as fuck debut-album, "Diabolosis") the three members of Scythe tear the lid off of blackened thrash and bath in it's bloody after-birth! The only real bit of difference between the two acts is that while Usurper stuck rather close to that sinister combination (black metal + thrash) the guys in Scythe tap into some old-school speed metal as well as straight-up, kick you in the teeth, traditionally heavy metal! Joined by bassist/vocalist Dan Geist and drummer Joey Contreras (who both do much more then just provide the other two pieces of  Scythe) our former Usurper front-man is free to take things in whatever direction he wants with his new band. On his second album that means that even if Rick Scythe and his band-mates have a release on their hands that is 100% fueled by full-out rage (it's every bit an ugly, hate-infested album kiddies) somehow, and yeah it does sound odd I realize, the group is able to do an experiment or two and stretch their sound out to include some rock and roll! True, black n' roll isn't some new, just discovered, creature of the night. It's been around in various shapes and forms for some time so "Subterranean Steel" is not some kind of groundbreaking album. What it is though is one bad-ass album that initially offered up the appealing combination of raw thrash and primitive black metal, but ended up delivering so much more then it promised! When was the last time that happened? As it is coming at you with ugly thrash and demonic black metal, which is made all the better thanks to the album's unassuming production job, this Chicago group's sophomore release is not meant for the casual metal fan. "Subterranean Steel" will be more appealing to the metal fans out there who always wished that Slayer was more like Venom and that Venom was more like Deströyer 666. If you're the kind of person that laid awake at night pondering those kinds of extreme musical car-wrecks then this might just be the kind of band to answer your prayers. Look for "Subterranean Steel" to drop in mid-September.

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