Sunday, 24 April 2011
[ALBUM REVIEW] Flame - March Into Firelands
1. Black Realm of Satanas
3. Burning Horror
5. Rites of Endless Hatred
6. Destructive Saint
7. Flaming Magic Assault
8. Gateway to the Birth of Lunacy
Boasting a production handled by the infamous Necromorbus who’s worked with bands of a calibre such as Watain and Funeral Mist, Flame’s sophomore effort March Into Firelands has finally seen the light of day, and is a much improved step up from their rather lacklustre debut. A parallel project alongside cult Finnish thrashers Urn, Flame sound very similar, stripped down sand-blasted black thrash, obnoxious and uncompromising similar to that of their close neighbours Nifelheim. With their influences permeating from the usual sources such as early Bathory, Hellhammer and Discharge you can be certain you’re going to be in for brief but utterly intense half hour of vicious, bestial thrash laced with pure grit.
March Into Firelands isn’t going to win any awards for progression or originality, but then in this field of blackened thrash not much ever is. There’s never any harm in wearing your influences for all to see on your sleeve, and when you do it as well as Flame have managed to here it’s always welcome. The guitar shares that same low-fi sound production of Hellhammer while the riffing is just downright filthy and old school. Combined this with the malicious atmosphere from The Return and you’ve got the standard template as to what all self-respecting black-thrash bands should at least be aiming for. Blackvenom’s vocals are situated heavily on the black side of the spectrum and could be best described as a mix between Quorthon’s black metal rasp and Jon Nödtveidt’s, and then add on a heap of reverb for an extra evil cavernous effect. Pretty standard practise really but hey, it works.
With songs like “Destructive Saint” and “Gateway to the birth of Lunacy” it’s hard not to move your head even a little bit, catchy riffs, thundering drumming and Blackvenom’s feral snarl, and with the deliberately low fi production onto of it, it’s all unashamedly old-school. The one problem I have with it is that it’s just too predictable, whereas bands like Desaster and Nifelheim are able to inject a fair amount of identity into each of their song, the songs on March into Firelands begin to blend together after repeated listenings. When you’re not paying full attention it’s easy to miss the ending of one song and the beginning of another and you think you’re still listening to the same song you were ten minutes ago. It’s still a great album though regardless and fans of blistering blackened thrash should certainly check it out, the musicianship is top notch and the music is downright primitive and relentless. They’re going in the right direction, just a bit more focus and I can’t see why they won’t be up there with the leaders in the genre on their next release, but as it is March into Firelands is enjoyable if not wholly original, and has left a good impression on these Fins.
Originally written for Metalcrypt