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I am going to start this review off by saying I am a HUGE fan of this band and album since the moment I heard the first track Witches Curse. A 4 piece Black/Thrash Metal outfit hailing from Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, with a sound as if Bathory, Venom, and Celtic Frost had a 3 way together and managed to spawn a damned demon child from this sinful gathering. This album is one of the most original sounding pieces I have heard thus far from this big genre.
First off, the vocals performed by Carnivore, they are NOT of what is considered to be the typical Black Metal style of singing, if anything they are probably closer to Death Metal, but still very unique in their own right. These are very gruff and raw, but they sound absolutely amazing with the band's sound and style. The guitars, performed and written by Teutonic Slaughter, have a great clean but crunchy sound to them, and his solos are quite exceptional. And speaking of the solos, a man that goes by the name of Doomhammer (who also has been involved with other great German Black/Thrash acts; Nocturnal and Old), actually did guest lead guitars on the track Victim of Hellfire, and he does a great job as well. The bass is fairly audible and Vomitor kicks ass as being the rhythm part of the band. GG Alex, the drummer, actually has a very cool and fresh style that goes perfectly with TS's riffage and Vomitor's rhythm, he is very much the backbone of this album, and the drums themselves have a very punishing sound to them. He applies the 'teutonic beat' very much here but it never gets boring nor irritating.
As a cohesive unit, the band is amazing and have an original sound. As a great little surprise, there is a cover of Bathory's Necromancy on here and the guys make it sound great and fresh as if they wrote it themselves And as for this album, if you are AT ALL into Black/Thrash, or even just Thrash, this is the gem for you. You will not be disappointed by this band's performance. Sadly Carnivore left soon after their 2nd album was released and the band was eventually put to rest sometime last year. Nonetheless, this album was amazing when it was first released and it still is as I listen to it to this day.
HIGHLIGHTS: Witches Curse, Nercomancy, Leather and Metal, Victim of Hellfire, and Queen of Heresy.
I still remember the first time I heard "Victim Of Hellfire"... I was completely blown away. Then I decided to listen to the entire album, and holy fuck, was I shocked of the masterpiece coming out of my loudspeakers. When you put on this album you know that you got 33 minutes of pure black thrashing mayhem!
Speaking of the music itself, the guitar riffing is pure 80's worship with the classic two stroke drum beat. However, the drums are actually pretty slow, compared to many recent thrash metal bands. In fact, only one song, "Forces Of Hades" is actually faster than the drums of The Exorcist by Possessed. But those slow drums really give that 80's feeling that you may expect from an album like this. And the vocals... Wow.. Carnivore is just a beast with his vocals. They give a good mix both thrash and black metal. I really don't know anyone who really sounds similar to him.
One thing I find interesting is that during one of the solos on the songs "Witches Curse" and "Forces Of Hades", there is no rhythm guitar section. That really gives that live feeling when you only have one guitarist. And it sounds really damn good. And the production is one of the highlights of the album. One can clearly hear that this album was recorded on really old analog material, which gives that dirty atmosphere that some people, including myself, enjoy. And the lack of triggers just makes it better.
With that said, I highly recommend that you get your hands on this album. If you haven't heard it yet, you will shit your pants.
Highlight: Victim of Hellfire. Best song ever! Period!
If you have come as far as here, I assume you know these guys belong to the vast family of Nocturnal and OLD by sharing the bassist on this instance (if you’re anything like me you spend your time checking the site members section of said bands…or go on, check it!), so you know this release is going to be hardcore old school stuff. Get ready!
So here you are, ready for a black/thrash attack, but there you have it: this is the SURPRISE. Unlike many other current bands playing the style that take their mould either after Aura Noir or Destroyer 666, in this album Cruel Force will force you to bang your skull with a mixture of evil speed metal and blackened rock’n’roll.
The vocals on display were taken from the Cronos forge (and you will not mind that one bit as it fits in with the music like a rollercoaster of jam toasts), the drumming shifts between groovy “I’m-having-a-blast” rock’n’roll, and ceaseless blacky pounding. The bass playing often strays from the riffs and core rhythms as it can only be found in the best metal (pump those horns high!). Now the riffs - oh boy, are you going to enjoy them, and they are where Cruel Force really hits their stride. Unlike OLD that sip from the Celtic Frost fountain, what you find here is in the vein of Piledriver, Exorcist and, to a lesser extent and not achieving in overall composition the vibrant random dissonance and chaotic awesomeness of, Bulldozer, therefore including a looseness in speed akin to the mighty Motorhead. Do not be mistaken though, there is enough variation here to not let you get bored: flows of clean leads (not as much or as melodic as found in Midnight), slower parts in songs, awesome power cording, and so on. The lyrics, song titles, and overall spirit embed in the compositions are total Bathory worship, and they even have a song cover (in alternative look to the title and front cover of the following album).
The production IS where this album really takes the cake. Recorded oh-so-obviously using traditional analog methods and with so much ooomph! as meringue has sugar, you will find it very difficult to find a recent album with so much personality and individuality. The already mythical Em Ruínas come to mind and although you will be rushed to think black/thrash when you start listening to this, you may or may not come to an understanding that evil speed metal is what this is about.
Granted, Cruel Force are not inventing the wheel here and they take a wide slab from the old evil stuff, but by mostly restricting influences to the big three:Venom, Bathory, & Hellhammer/Celtic Frost (this last one to a lesser degree, but they do have a groove here and there you will identify). Amazingly, they create something refreshing with an intense invigorated feel. Is this the best album ever? Probably not, but you will have a good time with it and honestly, who can ask for more?
Highlights: Satanic Might (“HOLY SHIT” was my mental reaction to my 1st listen of this piece and oh boy, it’s grand!) and Victim of Hellfire (added atmosphere by the bucket load).
Summary: Cruel Force play very fast, evil metal and it's about time this album had a review. Pick it up when you get a chance for it really is a standout in this genre, IMO. Here is a ticket out of your rut!