When three former members of New York hardcore band Kill Your Idols decided to shift gears into Scandinavian-flavored black metal by founding a new group named Black Anvil, it goes without saying that they were playing with fire, since few musical styles attract fans less forgiving and humorless. And, sure enough, what do you think Black Anvil's most obvious difference from the corpse-painted legions like Immortal, Gorgoroth, Watain, et. al was? Why, not taking themselves too seriously, of course. Mind you, it's not that Black Anvil lack in sincerity or show any disrespect for the inherently grim and frequently misanthropic nature of their newly adopted direction. They just don't subscribe to its more cartoonish and, let's admit, rather childish posturing and faux-Satanic hysteria -- perhaps in part because one: they're adults with, like, day jobs and other real world responsibilities, and two: this ain't Middle Earth, motherf**kers it's New York City! Chances are, if Black Anvil had attempted to vomit forth so-called "trve/cvlt" fire and brimstone, cynics would instead accuse them of forcing the issue. So, long story short, the band's debut album, 2008's independently released Time Insults the Mind (reissued the next year by Relapse), achieves a compelling balance between the broad aesthetic spectrum encompassed within black metal's numerous subsets by broaching extremity and experiment, raw savagery and sophisticated songwriting, all for a song cycle that's both middle of the road and refreshing in its directness. Thus, one is presented with infectious blackened thrashers like "Release the Kraken," "And You Thought You Knew Pain!," and the Motörhead/Venom homage "L.T.H.L.T.K."; atmospheric chill and cathartic blastbeat outbursts combined on "Margin for Terror," "On this Day Death," and "777"; doom-laden horror in "Deathsomnia"; and plenty of black & roll grooves throughout, but especially on the standout "Ten Talons Deep." An album-closing cover of Celtic Frost's "Dethroned Emperor" ultimately sums everything up and points to Black Anvil's chief source of inspiration for their diverse, devoted, and, perhaps most importantly, pre-Norwegian Inner Circle mentality (when the fun really went out of black metal). In other words, this band and album are both black enough for snuff!
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia