The second album from New York black metal trio Black Anvil is as churning and rage-filled as its predecessor. Their sound is very slightly cleaned up from the debut, which had almost the same falling-apart quality as the Hellhammer demos to which they were so clearly indebted (hell, the album ended with a cover of Celtic Frost's "Dethroned Emperor"). It's still rough, grimy black/death metal, though, with the bandmembers' hardcore roots showing through. The music is heavier than most old-school black metal, with plenty of bass and a hard, thwacking drum sound; these guys aren't concerned with retaining a lo-fi sound as though auditioning for membership in the Darkthrone Historical Reenactment Society. They want to make listeners bang their heads, and songs like "Ultimate Reality," with its looping, hypnotic riff, and "Scalping," with its maniacal, full-speed-ahead fury, will certainly succeed in that aim. This is not a particularly ambitious album -- Black Anvil have little interest in being progressive, lyrically or musically. But when taken on its own guttural, hyperaggressive terms, it's an absolute success.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman