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Clear Sky Nailstorm - The Deep Dark Black - 91%

Edmund Sackbauer, February 22nd, 2021
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Kernkraftritter Records

German thrash metal has become a brand of its own over the past few decades. Not only the big names have produced some nice music, but there is also a sheer endless stream of talented new bands presenting their own take on the formula. My latest find in that regard are Clear Sky Nailstorm. Don’t pass on them just because of the somewhat goofy band name, as these lads know how to write some crushing tunes. They have tagged themselves as “Bremer Thrash-Musikanten”, showing their sense of humor. But don’t get fooled, music-wise they do not take any prisoners. Their third full length has been titled “The Deep Dark Black” and brings more or less everything to the table I enjoy about thrash metal.

Face melting riffs and lightning fast drumming delivered with precision and enthusiasm is what is on offer here. The main chops do not deviate too much from what the Bay Area heroes have already presented to the metal maniacs of the 80s and 90s, but of course Clear Sky Nailstorm also pay tribute to their famous fellow countrymen. That being said they have implemented a few small twists and subtle variations to the familiar staccato chords by going up or down a keynote within the scale, or shortly touching a trademark riff of a song again at another occasion. There is a somewhat modern note observable, although the music is mainly rooted within the classics of the genre.

The crunchy heaviness of the rhythm guitar is pitched against some fantastic harmonies of the lead guitar, lending the whole affair a very uplifting atmosphere. The guys have a great feeling for hooky riffs and catchy refrains, making each song just pure fun from start to finish. The songwriting is straight and on point without coming across as being simple or boring at the same time. There are some really cool soloing sections, but those parts are never overdone and they have been perfectly embedded into the flow of the respective songs. The same can be said about the drumming, which serves as backbone to the music without being too chaotic or hectic at any point in time.

Singer Thomas delivers his vocals in a perfectly fitting way, spitting out each word with power and anger. This kind of approach always comes with a certain level of monotony, although he is able to put some more melodic lines into his delivery as shown e.g. in “Close My Eyes”. Thrash metal vocals have always been mainly about putting aggressiveness above diversification, and Thomas easily roars with some of the genre’s greatest.

The production is crunchy, powerful and dynamic. The mix is clear and transparent without sacrificing the rawness that is needed for that kind of music. No details are buried in the mix, and even the bass is fully audible. This is not any kind of garage demo sound, so in case you have a problem with this more modern approach you might not be happy. I personally prefer this punchy sound, making “The Deep Dark Black” one of the best thrash metal albums I have come across within the past few months. Great stuff!