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Black Mass > Feast at the Forbidden Tree > Reviews
Black Mass - Feast at the Forbidden Tree

Snakes And Arrows - 90%

Sweetie, October 4th, 2021

After putting out a record that easily cracked my top twenty in 2019, the Boston thrashers Black Mass have returned with a follow-up to Warlust. Their brand is to-the-point, hitting the abrasive side of things similar to the early German acts, avoiding any crossover silliness or progressive touch-ups. The latest disc Feast At The Forbidden Tree definitely continues to follow this formula. They definitely dropped something that could size itself up pretty well.

Bouncing off of what came before, I think that things got tighter regarding songwriting built on the same foundation. Since they went for a sharp and chaotic sound before, the songs themselves had a quick and loose blow to them. Here, they get slightly longer in length and focus on progression and adding more than one side to everything. No drastic steps this way are taken, but noticeably enough, and thankfully both approaches are great. Small nuances like that are what prevent stagnant discographies.

Specifically, the end of Feast At The Forbidden Tree is where you’ll see this take more fruition. There are lots of fun tricks in “A Path Beyond,” mostly with the cleaner guitar wails that precede the solo. Closer “Blood Ritual” touches blackened territory thanks to its harsher rhythms and shrieking vocals. Hints of this are dropped throughout the whole disc, as a matter of fact. Earlier in, you get tastes of a crushing angle. “A.S.H.E.S.” is an explosive number with gruff glazings and menacing riffing under perfect distortion. The instrumentation and its slow crawl to thrashier aesthetic is crucial. On the flipside, “Dead To The World” throws back to the simpler mindset of the previous record, delivering all of the chops that speed metal fans could ask for.

Black Mass are very quickly becoming one of my favorite modern thrash metal acts. Delivering two near-perfect records this early on is a hell of a good sign, especially when they’re somewhat close together. There’s clear evolution in sound without jumping the shark, and I’m here for it. Fans of Kreator, Sodom, Skeletonwitch, and the likes should definitely give this a spin.

Originally written for Metal Inferno