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At some point, back in the early 00’s I thought that the black metal scene is slowly dying, bringing less and less really exciting and worthy bands. Of corpse the history turned out totally different and now I can say that the devil’s spawn has bred a lot of totally killer and amazing bands, but back then… well, only very few were that good. Things started to change first in Sweden, then also in some other countries, like Germania and Norway… and finally also Poland has spawned some killer troops of hell! And Thunderbolt is one of the best bands that this country has ever spat out. And their 2004’s album “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder” belongs to my top three of the best Polish black metal records ever! Yes! Of corpse this is already Thunderbolt’s third LP and the two previous ones are also damn killer, but I feel like with “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder”, musically, the band reached a new level. Everything, what you can hear on this album sounds fantastic and is simply a sign of great development and progression in Thunderbolt’s music. I don’t know if it’s due to the line up, which recorded “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder” and especially the addition of Necrosodom, who’s written half of this record together with Paimon… and you know, Necrosodom is a killer dude, who’s been blessed by the devil with ability to create some killer, furious metal – proven in such bands as Anima Damnata and Deus Mortem. Anyway, “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder” does sound a level above the earlier albums. The production is way better, more professional if I can say so, as it is cleaner, but remains aggressive and harsh at the same time. The whole performance of the band is so tight, so precise, especially when Thunderbolt plays these furiously fast songs… and damn, most of this album is fast he! Is just feels like it’s not that sort of totally underground, primitive, cold black metal anymore, but it’s a new quality and also something more original, with its own style, what only makes the whole listen of “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder” more enjoyable.
One of the greatest strengths of “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder” is how powerful this album is. It really is a total blast, a real fuckin punch in the face. This music erupts with energy and its intensity will wake even the dead. As I already mentioned a great part of the record is fast and I mean FAST! The band is excellent at what they do; killer, sharp riffs, furious vocals of Paimon and fast, precise drumming of Stormblast. Damn, it just couldn’t be any better in my opinion. The album is quite technical for black metal, in a way that there’re fairly few tempo changes within every song, plus the arrangements are not so simple and basic anymore… just listen to the guitars, the drums… And unlike bands such as Marduk or Setherial, which at some point sounded all the same and with no diversity, Thunderbolt offers a mixture of different parts. So, it is not just a sonic attack, but there’s plenty of room for slower fragments, some, which even hold more harmonic riffs here and there. And some even have keyboards (like “May the Dead Rise and Smell the Incense”, one part in “Chaos Reigns over Megiddo” and so on and on)… But this instrument plays more a background role, luckily, so it is nothing like orchestral black metal or whatever, but just simple tones, which are playing a second role to the wall of guitars, to fill the gap and underline the atmosphere of Thunderbolt music. There are even two purely acoustic, instrumental songs, on each side of the vinyl, so they are moments of calmness and time, when you can capture a breath before another unstoppable attack of uncontrolled, furiously fast black metal will erupt and cause some devastation. Finally there are even these slower songs like “Impious Bewitchments of Aberration” and “Ashes to Ashes… Death to All” (OK, this is half slow, half fuckin fast track! hehe), which are insanely possessing and it is almost impossible to resist to their riffs, their atmosphere and everything else. At some point I even dare to say that some fragments of “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder” are almost catchy or at least memorable, so they possess you and will stay in your mind for long!
All in all I must say that I am highly impressed by “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder”. It’s been ten years since the release of this excellent album and it still makes a huge impact, being one of the strongest black metal releases in the history of Polish extreme music. It’s an absolute must to own, if you ask me and damn… Do I need to write anything else? No, it’s enough. Join the ritual then and sharpen your knives. At the same time I do must admit that the album seems to be criminally underrated and I feel like not many black metal maniacs know the band, remember it and this album (especially from outside of Poland!), which is a shame. You have no idea what you’re missing.
Standout tracks: “Inhuman Ritual Massmurder”, “Ashes to Ashes… Death to All”, “Impious Bewitchments of Aberration”, “Warmageddon (Genocide Cult)”
Final rate: 90/100
This album is glorious. This is what good Black Metal bands should all sound like. Speed used properly, drums don't sound out of place, and they're ridiculously fast at times. Chaos Reigns Over Megiddo for example has parts with drums so fast you get confused almost. Riffing isn't boring, fast, appealing and varied. Some riffs are just pure speed, some are a little more jumpy, some are both. Vocals are harsh and stand out yet don't anoy whatsoever. With bands like this it's easy for a singer to just blend in with the song and just make everything boring and faceless, making them just alike 500 other crappy BM bands, but like with any good black metal bands the vocals are used well and not overused. Good musicanship, fitting quality, great writing, This album is simply brilliant. Thunderbolt wins.