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Every once in a while, I enter a 'down' phase of my life, where I contemplate killing myself, or perhaps wearing those asinine black-rimmed glasses and listening to Opeth... then I put this album, and I realise just why life is worth living.
Okay, not quite, but still... holy FUCKING shit.
This right here is THE thrash album to end all thrash albums. Brutality, heaviness, songwriting skill, and of course more of a riffs onslaught than any FIVE other brutal thrash classics... you pick 'em, this'll lay them flat and stab them in the chest repeatedly. Kreator... Slayer... Sepultura... Torture Squad... all of those are amazing bands that have put out metal classics in their own right, but all of them are complete excrement compared to THIS blast of complete fucking over-the-top insanity.
I don't give out 99 ratings like some sort of overvalued party favour - if it weren't for Priest in the East, this would be THE BEST metal album of all time. It's that fucking monkey-smashing good. It is so completely be-all-end-all genre-defining and amazing, that I feel unworthy as a human being simply because I don't rape and kill (not necessarily in that order) 30 of my fellow humans and send the bodies to Gene Hoglan every morning, just as a thank-you gift for this album... this album commands that much fucking respect.
This is the sound of armageddon right here... from the intro of pure concentrated distortion, to when the drums kick in, then the guitar riffage, oh my goodness this is riffage to end all riffage - it comes, riff after riff, and it is a complete mindfuck. You will not make linear sense of this. This transcends ordinary "Coma of Souls" thrash, where each riff is distinctly identified as music, and carries the weight of its past, from Sabbath to Priest... this is the album that takes all of those predecessors and treats them as something to build on... from the grimness of Venom and Bathory and even Hellhammer, rises THIS beast. This is not Kreator - such blaspheming tracks as Pestilence or Flag of Hate are rendered useless under the sheer Absolute Power of THE CITY IS GUILTY, THE CRIME IS LIFE, THE SENTENCE IS DEATH... DARKNESS DESCENDS.
Thrash, you worthless, ignorant sluts. When you look deep down inside, this is a thrash album... it's just so buried in ugliness and filth and decay that it may take three spins to figure it out. The riffs alternate fast and slow similar to any other - Slayer, for instance, or the aforementioned Kreator - it's just that slow is fast, and fast is "too fast my ass". Check out the TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE beats per minute of The Burning of Sodom, then compare with the relatively mild 190-200 of the middle section of Black Prophecies, which is the closest thing this comes to doom introspection... fifty fucking riffs, each more triumphant than the last, morphing into each other in the middle of this song. Then of course the classic fucking "never slow down, just switch it up" thrash breaks of Perish in Flames, Hunger of the Undead, et al... cunting fuck, yes this is of course a thrash album, but it basically takes any question - offered or otherwise - about thrash and quickly comes up with an answer.
People ask me ... how can we possibly live the heaviest life ever? Just look here, kids. This thing takes Hellhammer and Possessed out behind the woodshed, and teaches them a thing or two about evil. And that's saying something because Hellhammer and Possessed aren't exactly shit bands... see the malevolence of Burning in Hell or mankind's fucking Massacra, and then take a good long look at Hunger of the Undead... check out fucking Stained Class, then Show no Mercy, and then tell me that Death is Certain (Life is Not) is not the logical conclusion of all that...
The world stands ancient, showing her age... and when it ends, it will go like this, in a maelstrom of furious drumwork, enough riffs to lay waste to Bathory and Sodom (two GOOD bands, again, mind you) using only its left-hand little finger, and Don Doty's frenetic, apocalyptic vocal insanity.
There is none higher than this... this is such a blast of hyperkinetic fast thrash, heavier than Suffocation, more brutal than any of your dime-a-dozen late 90s grindcore bands... you think you're big-time? You're gonna fucking DIE, big-time. Here comes the pain. Marduk, suck your Panzer Division Feces out your ass, because Merciless Death is heavier and faster and harder and more over-the-top than you, and doesn't even resort to self-parody to do it. Fucken A, that's accomplishment right there.
Damn fucking right, this is metal... this is directly traceable back to its influences, from Black Sabbath to Sodom to Judas Priest to Venom to that fucking Overkill "Feel the Fire" demo from '84, this shows it, combines it in new bizarre forms, and comes out with a mutant beast of destruction that is the highlight of that Ultimate Year of Metal, 1986. Many have tried, and many have come close, and made lasting, classic impressions nonetheless... but there is Pleasure to Kill... and there is Reign in Blood. Then, on a completely different plane of existence, there is Darkness Fucking Descends. This must be taken to a new context, that of the Genre Definer... from Seven Churches to Sabotage to Black Sabbath itself - this album is that important, and that fucking raging. Nothing since has come close. Not Panzer Division Norsecore. Not actually enjoyable albums like Death's Scream Bloody Gore, Torture Squad's Pandemonium, or Demilich's Nespithe - all excellent albums, but Darkness Descends predicted, preceded, and generally made those albums obsolete even before they began.
Riffs! Riffs! Who's got the most riffs? Black Prophecies, that's who - listen to that middle section, with the well-timed slow (okay, only 160 bpm) part, where each riff carefully morphs into the next one, while your upper spine region contemplates armed insurrection against the atrocities inflicted on it.
This album is so extreme in a lot of well-defined ways, from the extremely high-pitched (2000Hz) shriek of WE'LLGIVEYOUMERCILESS DEATH!!! to the hyper-lightning-blast of Burning of Sodom... then in so many non-quantitative ways, like the PERFECT fucking thrash break on GODSOFWARHAVEGONEINSANE!!!! That's Perish in Flames for those keeping track at home.
This is not a pretty album. There is precisely one melodic passage, precisely one nod to Judas Priest and past restraints and normal human sanity - and that is the solo in Death is Certain, Life is Not. The rest is ugly, and makes Reign in Blood sound like leftist hippie rock. And Reign in Blood is a GOOD album. This is the album by which you go and kill your political enemies... when you drive down the highway listening to this, you must go at least 350 miles an hour. When you listen in the privacy of your own home, you will light things on fire and flagellate yourself with your refrigerator. It is that insanely extreme.
Holy excretal cuntmass of the ritualistic inverted Jesus, as he is defiled repeatedly by a thousand boners of thrash. It gets no higher than this. I got this album several years ago, and since then I have not found a single reason to NOT pronounce this the best fucking thrash album of all time.
the unholy trinity of 1986:
Pleasure to Kill
Reign in Blood
and this one, the crown jewel of them all