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Cold Steel is pretty much a perfect album. It is fast, intense, and aggressive and most of all, incredibly infectious. Destroyer 666 really outdid themselves on this album and they created an album that should go down as a classic in the heavy metal genre if there were any justice in the world. This album is amazing from beginning to end, but it does not get the respect it deserves because of the relative obscurity of this band. It’s a shame.
Destroyer 666 started out as a side project for K.K. Warslut of Bestial Warlust. It quickly evolved into its own entity, crushing everything in its path along the way. The band started as a relatively straightforward black metal band with occasional death metal influences. In other words, fairly similar to Warslut’s main band at the time and fellow Australian countrymen Abominator. As the band continued, more and more death metal influences began to show through, then even later strong thrash elements also presented themselves. Each D666 album is a little different from the previous one and this album is by far the band’s thrashiest, while still retaining some of their death and black metal influences.
This album features Destroyer 666 at their most stripped-down, aggressive, and razor-sharp. Everything about the album is tight and punchy and powerful. The band has discarded much of their grandiose, epic black metal in favor of a more simple thrash attack. Each of the individual elements are spectacular in their own way, but collectively, they add up to one extremely powerful listening experience.
Of course, the guitars are the most important aspect of the band. Shrapnel and Warslut play razor-sharp, jagged thrash metal riffs with the occasional tremolo line. The riffs come at the listener in a blinding fury. The blazing leads and solos coming out of nowhere are the true highlight of the album. The music will be very loud and workmanlike, when all of a sudden, a Slayer-esque solo will reach out and grab the listener’s attention. The leads on “Cold Steel” are particularly interesting, providing all of the melody, which is almost spine-tingling in the otherwise dark song. The riffs on “Raped” are very interesting, they have an unsettling feel, as if the composition of the riff is not quite right. It fits well with the song’s topic.
Warslut’s vocals mostly consist of a black metal rasp, although he has a couple of different pitches. He has a more high pitched rasp and a deeper, huskier growling rasp. The gang shouts that appear in some places further add to the dark and evil atmosphere of the music, while also making it seem a little more fun, particularly the spooky harmonic vocals on “The Calling”. The lyrics are fairly simple, standard Satanic, anti-Christian, and warfare themes. The band does not feature great lyrics, with a couple of exceptions: “The Calling” and “Savage Pitch”, but that’s not really the point of D666.
Mersus’s drumming is very prevalent in the mix. He is frequently pounding away, keeping the beat, but occasionally provides some nice fills when the riffs are repeating, especially on “Sons of Perdition”. The drums are most interesting on “Cold Steel” where they really drive the song, pounding away and providing the energetic backbone of the powerful track. Berserker’s bass is audible, but for the most part he is playing the same riffs as the guitarists.
Some of the songs stand out for varying reasons. “Black City-Black Fire” opens up the album with a bang and sets the intensity level for the rest of the album. The band’s energy level never really wavers from this. “Cold Steel” slows things down at first, but keeps the intensity high. “Sons of Perdition” immediately speeds things back up after the cold, dark atmosphere of the previous track. “Raped” is a little more of a straightforward thrash metal song, with very few, if any, black metal influences. “The Calling” is perhaps the best song on the album. It also starts out slowly, building into a frightening frenzy. Once it does, it features the best leads, drums and vocals on the album, as well as the best interplay between the elements. “Savage Pitch” once again picks the pace back up, and the band does not relent until the end of the album, pausing only to provide unsettling vocal samples to close out the song “Witch Hunter”. The band then works itself into a frenzy before fading out to end the album on “Shadow”.
As for the flaws: there really are not any, other than things that have little or nothing to do with what is present on the album. The cover art is not very good, but reportedly the band did not approve it before the record company put it out, so they had no say in it. The album is a little on the short side, clocking in at barely over 35 minutes, but this is perfect length for such an album. It should not be too long and it should not be too short, and this album is just about right.
I bought this album after having heard the band’s name thrown around quite a bit on the Encyclopedia Metallum forums as a band to check out. I found this album at a used music store for fairly cheap. Not having actually heard the band, I decided to check them out anyway. It ranks as one of my best all time buys. This album quickly became one of my absolute favorites and I have checked out virtually everything else by this band I can find. None of the rest of their albums have quite the same explosiveness and power as this album. This truly should be a classic, not just for the band, not just for the scene, but the metal genre as a whole.