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Aura Noir > Black Thrash Attack > Reviews
Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack

Crack of Thunder - 80%

LickMyOrangeBallsHalfling, July 8th, 2019

Some bands, while obviously influenced by other artists, will deny this influence vehemently in a display of individualism. Quorthon had NEVER heard Venom when he made Bathory's first album, not at all! The plagiarized lyrics to Raise The Dead? Pure coincidence, of course. I can appreciate these bands, mostly for the sheer chutzpah it takes to deny such an obvious influence. After all, no band wants to be seen as copycats, right?

Well, some bands are on the opposite side of the spectrum, and wholeheartedly embrace their riff-swiping ways. These bands will rip off an entire song riff-for-riff, only stopping to inject a riff plundered from a different band in the middle. I am talking, of course, of Aura Noir. Aura Noir, shamelessly a throw back to the glory days of brutal, breakneck thrash metal, back when the lines between thrash and black metal were deeply blurry. "Black Thrash Attack," their 1996 debut album, tends to lean towards the thrash side of the equation, but with an air of rawness and menace that justifies the inclusion of the "Black."

Of note here is that this album (and all their other work) features the input of two songwriters, co-frontmen Apollyon and Aggressor. Each have their own little quirks and idiosyncrasies when it comes to songwriting, but the overall musical style doesn't differ too much between songs. If there's one major difference I noticed, it's that Apollyon's songs tend to have more midpaced, Celtic Frost style sections that break into chaotic tremolo riffs at a moment's notice. Aggressor's songs straddle the line between black and thrash, and overall I'd peg him as the stronger songwriter. Most of my favorite songs on this album are his, and ultimately I think it just boils down to a very simple principle: the guy writes some killer riffs.

"Sons of Hades" starts the album off at full throttle. One thing about Aura Noir is that they always seem to change riffs just before you expect them to, taking you by surprise when it happens, and adding to the chaos, as exhibited perfectly on "Sons of Hades." Aggressor uses a gruff rasp, reminiscent of someone like Cronos or Tom G Warrior, a major factor in the band's old school feel. Up next is Apollyon's "Conqueror," which takes the cake for my favorite song on the album, despite my general preference for Aggressor. This song is just killer riff after killer riff, but they flow together in an organic way, rather than just being jammed together for the sake of it. It feels like actual songwriting and not just patchwork riffs sewn together. Apollyon takes a bit more of a traditional black metal approach to the vocals, using a harsher shriek than Aggressor.

From there, each does vocals on every other song, which I wouldn't be surprised if it was a tribute to Kreator, whose influence is very apparent on these songs. The jagged, angular (as much as I hesitate to use a word like that) riffs instantly call to mind Mille and co. Which brings me to the point from the start of my review: the hero worship.

Look, I really like this album. The songwriting is great. But that doesn't mean it's very original. The biggest example of this is "The One Who Smite." The first half of the song is basically a copy of Sodom's "Proselytism Real," until it's interrupted by...Angel of Death? The band is more than ready to acknowledge this, dedicating the song to Sodom. It's this self awareness that gives it some charm, instead of just being rehashed dreck. The riff-borrowing doesn't end there, as "Eternally Your Shadow" has a section suspiciously similar to The Imperial March, of all things.

If anything, I think some of the strongest moments on this album are when they really let the black metal side shine. "Eternally Your Shadow" features some wild tremolo picked melodies that hook you in, and there's an eerily dissonant bit on "Caged Wrath" that calls to mind "Freezing Moon." And as mentioned before, "Sons of Hades'" opening riff uses the dreaded tritone to great effect. Some of the thrashier moments can be a bit boring, relying on 0-0-0-0-0 riffs that we've all heard before. These tend to be Apollyon's songs, another reason while I prefer Aggressor. Aggressor is also the stronger drummer, and utilizes some wild fills and beats to really spice up the music.

Look, Aura Noir wasn't breaking new ground with this album, and they knew it. What they set out to do was create a tribute to the bands that inspired them while putting their own little spin on it, and they succeeded. Come for the riffs. if nothing else. There's plenty of them.

Black thrashing aura - 90%

dismember_marcin, November 16th, 2018

Black fuckin Thrash Attack!!! This title is such adequate to the musical content of this record. And is best description for what you'll find there. It says everything - about the influences of Aura Noir members, which are deeply rooted in the 80's legendary records, like thrash classics from Sodom, Slayer and Destruction, and in 80's primeval black metal from Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer and all other beauties from the ice age. It says everything also about the ferocious, aggressive attitude of the music, its vulgar sound and really dark, obscure atmosphere. Yeah, this is Aura Noir.

First time I have seen this band's name was probably in interview for Thrash'em All Magazine (I may be wrong though) in mid 90’s. Soon later I bought "Black Thrash Attack" cassette from Mystic Production and loved it from the first listen. It sounded so fuckin great! For me Aura Noir proved that you can still play black metal in that more archaic, ancient way, but sound fresh and really powerful at the same time. And adding the sodomizing thrash feel was also clever and absolutely fantastic idea. Of course, many accused Aura Noir for stealing old riffs and other such bullshit, I remember reading a lot of such stupid comments back then. But that was absolutely useless and untrue opinion. Who cares? What mattered was that "Black Thrash Attack" contains a whole bunch of killer songs and not even a second of dull stuff. Written half-half between Apollyon and Aggressor, each having his own style, this is a killer album, where every riff is razor sharp and cuts deep into the flesh. It forces to bang head, like classic metal records always do and you know it’s impossible to resist. The result is even more interesting, because Aggressor writes more like old Venom songs, while Apollyon songs sound like Sodom or Hellhammer. That gives a quite varied effect, also because each of them sings in his own songs. But yeah... From “Conqueror” through “The Pest” and up to “Fighting for Hell”, it’s insane record. 20 years later I still love to play it and I can only recommend it to those, who have never had a chance to listen to it.

Standout tracks: “Conqueror”, “Caged Wrath”, “The Pest”, “Fighting for Hell”
Verdict: 90/100

Norway's #1 tribute to Kreator - 67%

TrooperEd, February 24th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Peaceville Records (Reissue, Remastered)

Aura Noir's Black Thrash Attack is what you get when you combine the voice of Abbath with an almost ironic plagiarizing of German thrash riffs. If you were to play this in front of Chris Rock and asked him what he thought, he'd respond "I think Mille Petrozza gonna sue somebody!" Leaning oh so slightly more on the thrash side of the equation, the reverbed production and vocal style is where the black becomes part of the attack. If you didn't know better, you'd swear this was something Abbath Doom Occulta did on the side.

The opening track, Son of Hades, perfectly sets the table for what is to come. 80 seconds of solid thrashy black metal when all of a sudden, at 1:20, "I did nat hit her. It's bullshit I did not hit her, I did NAT. Oh hi, Awakening of the Gods." Moments like these are all over the album, when the band is heavily into their worship that they just straight slip into plagiarism without realizing it. The intro to Storm of the Beast is note for note an intro to another song. See the past fifteen years of Kai Hansen's career for another, more popular example. How this effects you depends on how offended you are by such "tributing." As you can see from the ranking, it offends me a little bit. But it sounds more like they are actually making a tongue-in-cheek tribute rather than any outright thievery. These Norwegian fucks play these odes like they mean it.

Other notable tributes can be spotted at the beginning of Conqueror, which bares oh-so-slightly more than a passing resemblance to like Perish In Flames*. Specifically the intro riff, though I will say the drumbeat here is very different to the original, going for a Hoglan blast-beat then the slower but nonetheless thrashy drum beat he utilizes on the original track. The One Who Smite has the most hilarious version of the Angel of Death thrash break, choosing just to alternate pick the whole thing. It's obviously inferior to the original, but it’s at least entertaining. Believe it or not there actually are some great original sounding thrash riffs on this album. The entirety of Caged Wrath is full of them. 2:19 of Destructor is a damn fine sounding thrash break. Or at least I haven't heard the Sodom album it comes from yet.

As long as you aren't irritated by recognizing riffs from better bands, you should have one hell of a time with this album. Also, yes I realize Perish In Flames, Angel of Death and any other non Kreator songs I've mentioned here aren't Kreator albums. The album still sounds like Pleasure To Kill with more of a black metal than death metal feel.

Not as violent as its successor - 85%

erebuszine, April 12th, 2013

I suppose this album deserves a special place in my collection just because my opinions and judgments concerning its aesthetic value, or - at the very least - its entertainment possibilities (related to its "originality"), have changed so many times over the years. When I first started listening to it I wasn't drawn into its material with much force, and so I didn't realize or feel with much emotion its immediacy, its ability to spontaneously capture the attention or mesmerize (which is so essential to what we eventually term "good music", its aptitude for transcendence) and seduce one's consciousness away from the present, one's controlling thoughts. This is to say the music itself did not have the ability to dominate consciousness or direct the imagination towards its own aims, its own sources and immediate desires for expression, release, transfiguration, or transference. Of course this was only my subjective opinion, and as a subjective value of experience or judgment, it of course had the ability to change over time, or change with my altered/transfigured consciousness or understanding. This is what eventually happened... as my feelings regarding this music shifted form and appearance over the course of a number of years. It was something inside of me that was changing, of course. The music wasn't distorted or "corrected" in any fashion.

In any case, to write "thrash" music in 1996 or 1999 or, indeed, in 2004 (as this band is currently still active), requires a few motives and satisfied directives or authentic, obvious principles, one of those being of course mimicry. In 2004 thrash metal is a throwback, an instant call for nostalgia, a relic and revenant - always having at least one foot in what has come before. The first order is to satisfy this desire for nostalgia, which means Aura Noir must refer to the past without openly repeating the work of other bands... but this is a pressure (the anxiety of influence, almost) which appears in almost every form of music... one's ability to evade or follow this anxiety and its directives is naturally linked to the outside interpretation of both the "naturalness" and eventual "originality" of one's music - which is to say, this anxiety and one's creative response to it (ignoring it, adjusting to it and incorporating it, transfiguring it, or accepting it and, like a master, immediately rising above it), ultimately determines both an objective placing of one's stylistic/aesthetic appearance within a timeframe (in the history of a steadily evolving art) and a subjective judgment of one's creativity, one's artistic powers. In metal, as in so many other art forms that are constantly aware of their evolution, aesthetic and progressive hierarchies, etc., nostalgia is both dangerous and potentially powerful as generations of enthusiasts peel away from the modern to embrace former responses, or new generations come into being that need to be introduced to older paradigms and methods through novel guises, contemporary filters and "interpretations". As always, a balance must be struck between aesthetic authenticity (faithfulness to the past and to the current spirit) and immediacy, or between the tested and proved true methodology of forms that have been absorbed into current aesthetics (and transfigured in their own evolution: subsumed, fractured, dissolved, digested), and "current" forms that speak to the present - both to novice and expert, experienced and amateur. This is a difficult act. I think I can safely say that most musicians who aim for nostalgia and immediacy, a grasp both of the past and the present, fall into promoting one side and one direction over the other - sometimes to the detriment of their own aesthetics, and to the detriment of their own ability to communicate. Outside of a "classic", or rigid, well-defined, ultimately aesthetically stagnant genre or form (with history as a dead preponderance, a conquering weight over one's head), it can only be difficult to originate this nostalgic/original balance in a musical system where each new creation is, in fact, its own innovative type, where each new individual creation is a new aesthetic, a new judgment and statement of approach in itself.

So in order to create their "new" thrash, which is just a constant turning away from the present (or the present of 1996-1999) and a glance towards the '80s German scene (specifically Sodom, Destruction, and Kreator, although I mainly mention Kreator just to hedge my bets), an eternal "looking away" or "looking askance", a half-turn while progressing through metal's evolution, one hand reaching towards the past and one held with trepidation towards the present (which is to say the immediate future), Aura Noir must press outmoded or inauthentic (for the present) paradigms through a younger, more violent and pressing aesthetic - one which is not creating constantly in its immediacy (as the forms have already been documented, archived, etc. by other bands 15 years before), but which is creating continuously by pressing the nostalgic into novel forms that strive both to reverence/reference the past and not repeat them verbatim... this is the balance of the retrogressive, as mentioned above. At its best, this aesthetic results in moving compositions ("Conqueror", "Caged Wrath"), at its worst the internal dynamic or balance fails, collapses, and results in segments that are either too "original" (which, not sticking to the overall aesthetic and nostalgic/original stance or pose, feel out of place) or too nostalgic... which is just stale repetition. Of course for the novice, this repetition might actually be something new... as always, it depends on the listener... but one must posit the awareness that Aura Noir must feel in realizing their own overt nostalgia or failure in achieving this essential balance, and the resulting lack of feeling in the playing. The questions this kind of material (or this kind of band, this approach, this aesthetic) always asks: is this authentic music? Is this a new genre with its own rules and compositional principles or expectations? Is it legitimate, aesthetically and emotionally - if not artistically - to look at the past constantly as one writes music for the present? Can outdated forms be brought into the present and dressed to suit current needs? Or are there "classic" forms in metal that are both old and new, nostalgic (directly evocative in themselves) and applicable to current needs? Is retrogressive metal a paradox?

My favorite parts, and the sort of segments that move this music past the mundane or strict repetition: the backwards-raking upward strumming shower of notes first at 1:39 in "Caged Wrath", which seem to immediately link this to Norwegian black metal, of course, derived from Thorns, and the minute switch in beat (incorporating the cymbal change) behind the swinging riff at 1:02 in "Conqueror". The drumming remains solid throughout, however, the throne being traded by Apollyon and Agressor (each one drums for the other's songs, as each sings on his own compositions). Blasphemer, of Mayhem fame, handles the single guitar with expert adequacy.

Ultimately, while I feel this album doesn't measure up to the violence, aggression, and breathtaking energy of its successor, it does have slow, quiet merits that sink into one's awareness and coalesce over time. It also serves as an interesting notice of the aesthetics that later reached a more pure (meaning more expressive, not simpler or more nostalgic) form on "Deep Tracts of Hell", of course... which I believe was this band's highpoint, their masterpiece.


Erebus Magazine

Perfect album? Pretty much - 99%

ihateyou, November 23rd, 2007

"Destructive and agressive black metal that will take you as close to hell as possible." That line is on a promo item that came with the original pressings of this album and it sums it up nicely. This the crowning achievement of blackend thrash, every other band wishes they could be Aura Noir. It's fast, agressive, technical and garunteed to make you headbang.

There really isn't a bad moment on this album, but it starts perfectly. Sons Of Hades gives you no warning, no intro, nothing but nonstop black/thrash perfection. A funny side note is how Apollyon pronounces "Hades", he says "Hayds" haha. Conqueror follows up nicely, continuing the theme. Caged Wrath starts out with an awsome galloping riff that takes off into a razor sharp verse, but then slows down a bit for the bridge. The next few songs continue this style, changing it up a bit with the bridge.

The title track really shows off a nice dynamic, starting off slow and more quiet. It builds slowly for the first minute of the song then climaxes. The song then slows down gradually until it ends with the same riff it began with, very cool. The Pest is less thrashy than the rest, more blasting black metal.

Here is where the album shifts gears, and just in time. Another blazing thrash attack would start to get boring as pretty much every song before this point was exactly that. The One Who Smile doesn't do that, rather is a mid tempo riff fest that speeds up just at the right times. The slower riffs are just so heavy and create an atmosphere of sorrow. Destructor in kind of an inverse of the One Who Smile, it starts of fast and becomes crushingly mid paced. Fighting For Hell finishes off the album as a mid tempo monster that is just full of great riffs. The vocals on this one are of such urgency and power.

After listening to this I'm beaten by it's mastery of blackend thrash, really there isn't a single misstep on the whole thing. This shows how great second wave black metallers playing third wave thrash can be. It has everything you would want from both genres and nothing you wouldn't want. Get this now! EVERYONE!

It’s the Black Thrash Attack!!!!!!!!! - 88%

Reaper, October 4th, 2004

From the first song to the last, this album is fucking relentless. It pulls you in, beats you with Black Thrash and throws you out. This is what Black Thrash is all about. Vocal assaults, sick solos, pounding drums are all aspects this album is drenched with. This is almost as amazing as Deströyer 666, which is the closest band it resembles. The only reason this band isn’t as great as the mighty Deströyer 666, is due to the lyrics, which are a bit weak in comparison. The song structures are definitely there, as is the brutality.

The songs are a bit forgettable due to the lack of catchy lyrics. However, what this album lacks in lyrical ability it makes up with sheer brutality and amazing instrumental performance and structure. Songs such as “Wretched Face of Evil” are an onslaught on anything nearby. The only two drawbacks I could point out are the lyrics, which aren’t too memorable, and the vocals, which in some parts lack that extra oomph that would make the album better, or simply don’t fit well with the overall feel of the song. For the most part, this doesn’t bother me, as the instrumentals make up for these minute deficiencies.

The best song is definitely “Black Thrash Attack.” The chorus is insanely catchy and heavy. Over and over you will keep singing, “It’s the Black Thrash Attack.” This is exactly what this album needed, catchy lyrics and memorable choruses a la Deströyer 666. Although I am criticizing this album more than I am praising it, do not be turned off, as this is an astonishing album. It’s definitely at the peak of it’s genre, and discography.

Every single song on this album is an assault in it’s own right. Powerful albums such as these are difficult to come by. Aura Noir, mixed excellent drumming with amazing solos & guitar work with harsh vigorous vocals and put it into one extraordinary album. Do not hinder in obtaining this album, as it’s a great addition to any collection, but most specifically to fans of Thrash, Black and Death Metal.

This is a must get for fans of Deströyer 666 and Black/Thrash Metal. Although it’s not quite up to their level, it’s still some kickass Metal that shouldn’t be passed up on. Get it, or miss out on the relentless Black Thrash Attack!!!!!

Awriiight! - 95%

corviderrant, April 27th, 2004

This is some excellent stuff! Mostly old school thrash, but there are elements of black metal in there as well, hence the title of the album, but it's more the vocals than anything else I find black-sounding. Apollyon's high-pitched, raspy snarls and screams define that side of things perfectly, and his evil fuzz bass rumbles underneath a volley of amazing, catchy riffing from both guitarists (including Rune "Blasphemer" Erickson of Mayhem). You'd never guess that this was an early 90s release (a bad time for metal in general, I always thought), with its righteous fist-pumping feel unafraid of trends and such.

Musically, we have a well-balanced mix of thrash, mid paced moments, doomier riffs, and all around good headbanging period wrapped up in a decent production that carries a good underground feel while being well-mixed enough to hear everybody well and clearly. Lyrically we're talking old school with titles like "Destructor", "Fighting For Hell" (with its great headbanging intro and middle part), "Wretched Face Of Evil", and "Sons Of Hades", and it fits perfectly. Dirge Rep's drumming is outstanding throughout the album, and only the occasional blast beat pops up as he mixes up the tempos perfectly and tightly. These guys are really damn good, and I am looking forward to hearing the rest of their stuff!