BLACK ANVIL
"Triumvirate"

(Relapse)

01. What Is Life If Life Not Now!
02. Crippling
03. The Evil Of All Roots
04. Ultimate Reality
05. Angels To Dust
06. We Own You
07. Scalping
08. Eliminate
09. Dead And Left
10. With Transparent Blood

RATING: 8/10

One cannot help but wonder how many fans and critics have consciously or otherwise knocked BLACK ANVIL down a few notches in assessments of "Triumvirate" solely due to the fact that the trio is made up of former members of New York hardcore act KILL YOUR IDOLS. Leave your preconceived notions of "kvlt" cred at the door and recognize "Triumvirate" for what it is; a bruising display of USBM toughness and attitude with good songwriting to boot.

As it turns out, "black" and "anvil" are terms well suited to the style of black metal played on "Triumvirate". The blackness is prominent in the BM melody lines and chord progressions, as well as the thick rasp and sinister aura of the vocals. "Anvil" then speaks to the ironclad punch of these songs. A stout modern production that emphasizes heaviness without detracting from the barbarity surely helps, but the methods of destruction the trio employs are all about the pain inflicted on the listener over anything even remotely resembling minor note thinness or symphonic grandeur. "Angels to Dust" is 100 percent balls, owing as much to CELTIC FROST as DARKTHRONE and unleashes some beefy doom riffs during the song's latter half. Up-tempo closer "With Transparent Blood" steams along like a locomotive with a riff tone reminiscent of CROWBAR. Otherwise, "Triumvirate" excels for its smartly penned blasters, burly grooves, and enough attention to detail in the arrangements, combined with traditional black metal attributes, to make it both feral and memorable. The album is without a doubt a leap forward from its solid predecessor, "Time Insults the Mind" and an album on which the level of intensity is stratospheric.

Any way you slice it, this is one tough 'n blackened son of a bitch that only the delusional will view as disingenuous based on the members' past and present hardcore involvement. On "Triumvirate" BLACK ANVIL proves its worth as a real deal USBM act.

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