Respected and hard working American black metal band Thy Antichrist have released a long awaited new album called Wrath of the Beast. Wrath of the Beast was released on the 23rd of February via Napalm records. Wrath of the Beast is actually only the band’s second full length studio album. Their debut full length came out way back in 2004. That album was called Wicked Testimonies. Despite that big gap, there were plenty of other releases in that time. A demo, a couple split albums, a couple singles and even a compilation. Thy Antichrist haven’t been taking it easy. They have also toured relentlessly and made a real name for themselves in the underground scene.
Originally from Columbia, South America, Thy Antichrist formed in 1998 before relocating to Dallas, Texas in 2011. They were founded by Andres Vargas who is the frontman, lead vocalist, musical director, manager and lyric composer. He goes by the stage name Antichrist 666. His role in the band is described as bringing “Terrifying Vocals of Tragic Existence and Tragic Poetry”.
Joining Antichrist 666 we have Abyssus who brings “Six Strings of Human Suffering” or guitars. With the bass, we have Frost Giant. The Bassist of Cold and Tragic Whisperings. Finally, on drums or Apocalyptic Thunders of Chaos, we have Oricuss.
Wrath of the Beast is 10 songs and around 42 minutes long and is an astonishingly good album. While definitely in the realms of black metal, it is also progressive and atmospheric with songs that form bleak visions in your mind. We instantly get a glimpse into the progressive leanings of Thy Antichrist with opener Desolation. It starts with a flamenco styles, acoustic guitar. An interesting melody but if you don’t know the band and have just picked up Wrath of the Beast by Thy Antichrist, these first few notes will raise your eyebrows. It is quite a long intro but as it settles into a pattern, rolling cymbals introduce a loud electric guitar and the mood changes.
As the song kicks off we are treated to an ear splitting roar. This is quickly followed by a quick riff and speed drumming like you wouldn’t believe. The sombre but gentle intro is long forgotten as we are treated to a few minutes of solid riffing, insane drumming and a vocal display that will curdle milk. It seems unfair to pigeon hole these guys by saying that is how the whole album goes but it is true and it is a good thing. Extreme black metal with furious riffing, deathly vocals and speed drumming but within many tracks are also seamlessly integrated moments of genius adding a sprinkling of something special to this fabulous album.
The slow pounding drum intro on Walking Through the Soul followed by a vicious verse with a clear ringing guitar line in the background is one such magical moment. The short but perfectly placed and perfectly played guitar solo on A World Burnt to Ashes. Metal to the Bone has a brilliant drum intro. It then has a gang vocal chorus in black metal style as well as some of the most devilish sounding vocals I have heard this year. No Place Like Hell is a ferocious track that pulls you into a dark and desperate place before a melancholic acoustic breaks the brutality. It is juts a lull though as the track comes back in with more force than ever. Something I didn’t think was possible.
The album ends on another such moment. The sub 2 minute long The Last Breath is a beautiful, brooding and sombre acoustic instrumental with a little backing voice. In and around all these moments of dark magic are some of the heaviest but rhythmic assaults on the senses I have heard for a while. The Great Beast is a relentless attack with huge riffs and quickly spat growls and roars. Skeletons of Disgrace is similar but with a wicked guitar line that finishes off each line of the chorus and a bit of speed shredding in a solo as well.
Damn. Thy Antichrist have really pulled something special out of the hat here. Wrath of the Beast is easily my favourite black metal album release of the year so far. It will be a hard job for anyone to better it too, despite it only being February. It is that good. Wrath of the Beast is a must hear. It is a must have album without a single lull in the masterful metal on show. It is excitingly progressive but still with feet planted firmly in traditional black metal. Full of rage and fire but with moments of haunting beauty and the drumming, just wow. An absolute belter of an album and one I urge you to listen to. You wont be disappointed.
You can grab a copy of Wrath of the Beast for yourself from Thy Antichrist on Bandcamp or from Napalm Records. Find out more about Thy Antichrist over at their Facebook page, on Twitter or over at their YouTube page.
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Wrath of the Beast by Thy Antichrist (Napalm Records)
The Final Score - 10/10