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An Aura Noir release is, among many other things, a surefire way of checking the health of grisly, underground thrashing black metal for these Norwegians are at the head of the pack when it comes to showing the middle finger to the current metal trends and instead press forward with a heady mixture of metal passion, rehearsal room sweat and beer-soaked clubs. Now on LP 5, "Out to Die" does not aim to change the past formulas, but instead provide 32 minutes of carefree caustic mayhem for all the 'bangers out there.
Like Nekromantheon recently, the black/thrash concoction of Aura Noir does not aim to be as evil as a pure BM record, but thanks to it's speed and attitude it ends up recalling the punk spirit of old, spitting blood at all the wannabe practitioners of these extreme arts. Straight from the off with "Trenches" and following through into "Fed to the Flames" this exuberance is evident: the swirling riffs of Blasphemer & co sitting proudly over the frenzied drum attack and dual vocals of Apollyon and Aggressor, nothing done to sound pretty but with the fire of metal burning fiercely inside. All eight songs on the album offer a similar stylistic feel and length (nothing shorter than 3 minutes, nothing more than 4:45) but this has never been what Aura Noir are about. If it were not for the snarled vocals "Withheld" could be a Municipal Waste track for the main until their archetype AN top string lead work comes to town; "Deathwish" is the older crustier brother to Darkthrone's recent work being equal parts retro thrashing and blackened spite before the closing title track aims for the jugular from the outset in a typically underrated fashion yet its effectiveness is great as a closer. My expectations of it in this week's live London show are high I must say.
Self-described as the 'ugliest band in the world' Aura Noir fit that billing with their typically metal style combining the grit of underground 80's metal with a clearer production style than their brothers-in-arms Darkthrone ever feel inclined to employ (not that it bothers me, mind you…). 2008's "Hades Rise" is a hard album to beat and remains a darker sounding release than "Out to Die" but for the kind of F.U. that is often required when dealing with a world that believes the music in Kerrang! mag passes for metal, bands like Aura Noir will forever remain the beer-stained and foul-smelling truth.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net