Monday, August 30, 2010

Unholy Lust - Taste the Sin Through the Fire (2010)

Often a band stumbles across a winning metal formula without even setting out on that coal-cobbled path to begin with, and California's Unholy Lust provide a worthwhile example. Initially the band dabbled with aggressive punk music before their tastes started to take a dive towards the fiery spheres of Hell, and after a pair of self-released live recordings the band have wound up on the Blood Harvest imprint with their debut Taste the Sin Through the Fire, an incredibly voracious and fun blend of blackened thrash dynamics which culls influences directly from the source of such mayhem, fashioned here into a simple but fanatical concoction that will surely inebriate the willing, horn throwing hordes.

Musically the band channels carnal black metal prototypes Bathory and Hellhammer into a furious, fast paced raw speed/thrash environment courtesy of Possessed, Venom or the first two Slayer albums. Very often when listening through this studio debut I was brought to fond memories of the ghastly "Black Magic", "Die By the Sword", or "Kill Again" from the dawning years of those latter masters, but Unholy Lust also have a penchant for providing atmosphere to round out the more blasphemy-ridden slugfests. For example, the intro is one of the best I've heard lately, a potent orchestral swelling that feels so rich it feels almost as if it were lifted or rather paraphrased from a famous film or symphony piece. Either way, its a wonderful set-up for the diabolic metal to follow, and not the only distraction here: the "Interlude" late on the record is full of chill winds, chill acoustic guitars and female ritual narration.

Of course, the gist of this experience lies in the savage, forward charge of its near dozen abyssal blitzkriegs, beginning with the ferocious "Satanus Church". The band clearly has made some pact with a malicious, infernal spirit to trade in any thought of innovation or unpredictability for a hilarious level of skill at grinding your expectations to a sharp edge and then thrusting them through you at many miles per hour, and their success is owed largely to the massive, horrid production values they are able to flesh out of this vibrant black mass. The guitars are quite hostile and loudly mixed, the bass thick and grinding along to the drumming, and the lyric slather of Alvaro Sancen, 'The Sandman' is demented and formidable. The band also know how to dish out screaming, useless leads by the gallon, as if they were fake blood being spattered across the creative stage, and they almost always deliver the cheap thrills of speed/thrash past.

Everywhere you turn on this album, you're bound for grisly fun if you just check any ambitious expectations at the gate to the fiery party. The punk attitude and influence remain intact, but this music is sheer metallic vitriol. Along with "Satanus Church", there are fun, faster pieces like "Stench of Death", "She's a Dead Hunter", "Torso" and the grinding furor of "Horrified Visions", but the band are capable of delivering in the occasional slower pacing found in segments of "Warriors of Death" or "Back from the Dead". Another standout track is "The Angel Dust" which kicks all manner of heavenly ass through and through, and further cements the band's obvious Venom influence.

Nothing truly unique, of course, but that is really the only limitation that Unholy Lust faces on their new found path of conquest and witchery. The riffs, titles and lyrics all run the gamut from faintly to dreadfully familiar, but if you're a fan of the occult aggression of old school speed and thrash metal circa the mid 90s, with a dash of later influence from the Swedish black/thrash scene (Bewitched, Maze of Torment, etc) and a vague similarity to Nunslaughter, and you don't mind an occasional 'suck it bitch' canted before a particularly razor-like rhythmic beating, then welcome your new spiked leather overlords.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]

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