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Aura Noir – Out to Die (2012) - 90%

Asag_Asakku, May 29th, 2012

In this age of musical mediocrity, few black metal formations are managing to maintain over time a high standard of quality and artistic intransigence, preferring ease and convenience. Fortunately for us, serious amateurs, there is the Norwegian band Aura Noir. Formed in the mid-1990s, this trio composed of Apollyon, Aggressor and Blasphemer launched Black Thrash Attack in 1996, a real bomb that pushes the listener into a corner with music inspired by Bathory and most thrash masters of the 1980s. Speed, brutality and virtuosity combine to give a result that strikes hard, making the album a must for any serious black metal fan.

The band came back two years later with Deep Tracts of Hell (1998), this time without Blasphemer, gone making party with Mayhem. With a raspy production, this album takes us even deeper in the rabbit hole. Then, silence. It takes six more years to finally witness the release of (despite the accident suffered by Aggressor) The Merciless (2006), a twenty-seven minutes punch-in-the-face album, launched on Nocturno Culto’s label (guitarist of Darkthrone). Then came Hades Rise (2008), Thrashier but with less bite than its predecessors. Are the northern warriors sobering out? Out to Die (2012) gives us the answer: no.

This new album, released by Indie Recordings, evokes from its first notes the glorious beginnings of Aura Noir as a trio, Blasphemer having returned from his excursion. Trenches furiously throws hostilities. Unequivocally, the band returns to its good habits. It hits hard, with fast drumming and frenzy guitar parts, which display all of Aggressor's virtuosity. No respite with Fed To The Flames, excellent title on which I intend to unscrew my neck if I ever get the chance to hear in concert. Abbadon again allows the two guitarists of the band to spread their know-how with fast sequences, often quite complex. However, the tempo slows with The Grin From The Gallows, a weighing and oozing tune, but Withheld knocks back immediately with its typical thrash rhythmic that, without shame, we could find on an old Venom or Sodom album. The madness continues with Hellish Fiend Priest's and his rowdy introduction, then its arrhythmic progress, immediately followed by Deathwish, built around a punk rhythm. The title track concludes brilliantly the album, creating a beautiful symbiosis between black and thrash elements of the band's music, before getting lost in a maelstrom of sound.

Rarely a record has been so misnamed: it should have been called "Out to Kill!" Since obviously, it is the main intention of the band! Fast, nasty, with a production made of reinforced concrete, this album demonstrates brilliantly the know-how of three musicians in full possession of their resources. A well deserved nine out of ten! 9/10

Originally written for metalobscur.com