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I feel I should start by saying my user name on the metal archives was not influenced by this album at all, it is just pure coinsidence after all I only stumbled across this album about three months ago via a good friend. Sniper are a thrash band from Germany, who like many other bands play much closer to the original style of the 80's with conviction adding a few modern surprises, however like many of these other bands they are virtually unknown whilst everybody else milks the shit out of Rattlehead or Merciless Death to the point where the novelty wears off like an old joke you've heard a thousand times. So for those who really know their shit, and didn't discover thrash metal through Municipal Waste en route from listening to the Big 4 on the web, then yes this is definitely for you!
"Seducer of human souls" is practically a step up in production and exeuction from it's predesscor "Your world is doomed" (Respect to you if you've even heard either of these albums.) Also worthy of a note is that the guitarist/vocalist had a stint in the black/death band Moder and carries some of those wretched (in a good way) sounds with him. For an album released in 2006 this has not really gained any more exposure, I mean a lot of the underground die-hards still haven't caught on, which is a shame really because it's albums like this that we thrashers old and new ought to be shouting about. The guitars are fucking heavy, and I'm not going to bitch about needing the right sound system or speakers up to the task...forget that shite this album is fucking heavy, and those who fail to realize so are just the kind of people who seem to bash every band, the kind that listen to metal but are never satisfied by it you know?
The production is nice and clear and the riffs are crunchy and accelerating, whilst never abandoning expressive feel no matter how much of a raw momentum this album holds out. The vocals are raspy and not overly impressive, but they could certainly pass for any death/thrash band and I must compliment them in the respect that although they're not the best, they never faulter or fall behind the speed of the instruments. But although the vocals certainly pass for thrash, one can see how the vocalist could maybe have enlisted his abilities into a deathcore band and fit in rather too nicely.
The intro "Revelations" has a scuzzy black metal feel to it, paving way for the angst driven "Haunted" which has a few midpaced sections, although never managed to capture the atmosphere the title may suggest, and truth be told can come across as a bit incoherent even lack luster. But there are a few fast dazzling riffs in there, but you've got to get over the hurdle of the average riffs and the slight deviation in styles the vocals take. But there is a fucking great solo in there, and again a few great riffs so why give this a miss? The title track "Seducer of human souls" is a nice little onslaught of 80's style riffing, coming to a head against some more modern influences but merged and welded in expert fashion, never uneasy on the ears and never making a sudden transition abruptly between new and old eras. "Perished on the cross" is a nice modern thrasher, but out of all the tracks sticks out like a soar thumb. Not in a bad way, but this has more akin to Lamb Of God every now and then a blitzing riff reminds us that it's still Sniper playing, but the overall the riffs are a bit more repetitive with more hooks, a lot more pinch harmonics and the vocals enter the groove/core way more than the rest of the album.
There are some shorter numbers like "Black fire", or "Inquisiton" which are memorable and also good to go back to. Now one might be wondering how I could call this more tolerable than other retro-thrash? Well it's simple just read the damn review again but actually process the information this time! They are original and although they take old influences they add their own ideas, and even incorporate influences outside of thrash from the new millenium. But when they do plough into their 80's thrash mode, they do it with such conviction bands like Lich King just aren't going to get a look in when all is said and done. This is more than mere emulation it's got cojones! This isn't a thrash band that whinges like a bunch of school girls, when somebody decides to put on "Vulgar display of power" rather they embrace where metal has decided to go in the last two decades, rather than completely ignore it and play oldschool thrash and rip off old bands and have the cheek to call it "their movement." Of course they are from Germany one of the main power houses of thrash, during the 80's so of course there are going to be questions like how does it compare to the older stuff? Is this band the next, Sodom or Kreator? Err, no. To deny some Germanic sounds would be completely ignorant, but I feel completely confident when I say these guys are very much forging their own path. Really this is not a bad album, and it is easily obtainable despite the lack of enthusiasm towards the band. Great German thrash, but please don't come out of the experience asking where odes to thrash classics like "Sodomy and lust" or "Riot of violence" are in the mix.