Deströyer 666

Phoenix Rising

Written by: EW on 27/07/2009 20:08:29

So, if you've just come from my review of new album "Defiance", welcome again to Deströyer 666, but this time welcome to what is in my opinion one of this decades best extreme metal albums - "Phoenix Rising". By way of following on from "Defiance" the elements that were present, if unsuccessful in their execution on that record, are the exact basis of the success that is "Phoenix Rising". Here we have eight cuts of prime black/thrash metal, with a middle five songs of such staggering outlandish brilliance that feels like a boxer allowing you to settle during rounds 1 and 2 before beating the absolute shit out of you in the next five. A heavy experience I'm sure you can imagine.

Let's dive straight in. From songs three to seven - "Phoenix Rising", "I Am The Wargod (Ode To The Battle Slain)", "The Eternal Glory Of War", "Lone Wolf Winter", "Ride The Solar Winds" - Deströyer are imperious, untouchable, and "I Am The Wargod" is the king of these five princely songs. Beginning with a soft acoustic sombre introduction, followed by the best whammy dive bomb you'll ever hear moving straight into a lead riff that perfectly marries atmosphere, technicality and outright thrashing brutality, all before a brooding, misanthropic slower middle section where solos fly off in different directions and then yet more speedy electrifying thrash, it's no wonder Deströyer always play this live and the hairs still rise after many, many listens.

But there's no time to recover from that assault before "The Eternal Glory Of War" is upon us. Christened by the sound of marching soldiers and the kind of lead riff courtesy of the guitar of Shrapnel, to us (Ian to his mummy), that "Defiance" sorely misses, D666 ably demonstrate they are no mug at composing both fast and slower. Now honestly, how many extreme metal bands can you say truly master the medium and slow parts rather than sounding as if those bits are stuck there for the sake of variations in speed? "Lone Wolf Winter"... well it's as good as "I Am The Wargod", at a slightly higher average speed and with a middle refrain of I think I'm a wolf/ But then I'm fucking crazy!" that simply cannot be ignored. The pedal-heavy, clean vocal led, spiralling technicality of the dual-guitar assault in it's second half is a sign of a band over-flowing with confidence and creativity.

By the time "Ride The Solar Winds" emerges with yet another fantastic lead riff, built on the twin towers of technicality and accessibility, my head is in such a daze that one could easily forget its a song 95% of extreme bands would kill for, yet its bettered by its three predecessors. So is there anything to fault with "Phoenix Rising"? The sound is perfect for the style - heavy, clear yet unmerciful; composition and execution of riffs is so great that noone else sounds like it; the drumming of Mersus never steals the limelight but will never allow you to question it; and KK Warslut spits his songs of war and invincibility with a proud elegance. So I'm going to have to say, no there isn't. It even doesn't outstay it's welcome, finishing after eight songs and 40 minutes where from the first to the last the sound is of a band perfecting their assault, and in turn raising the bar on what can be done in the 21st century when combining thrash, black and death metal without a hint of looking over their shoulders.


Download: I Am The Wargod, Lone Wolf Winter, The Eternal Glory Of War
For The Fans Of: Absu, Razor Of Occam, Desaster
Listen: Myspace

Release date November 2000
Season Of Mist Records

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