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Extra trickery - 84%

gasmask_colostomy, June 15th, 2018

Some of Norway’s black metal heritage has been starting to manifest itself in speedier projects in the last few years, of which Condor can claim to be among the premier examples. Cementing their reputation with this self-titled debut album and an unstoppable follow-up (go and check the pun I just made), the merging of vicious speedy thrash with black metal vocals and an increasing dose of technicality make music like this irresistible to many kinds of metal fan.

The three-piece put out a short release with Condor, featuring only seven full tracks, though that proves enough to convince of the skills of each instrumentalist and the atmospheric power of the vocals. Guitars are provided by Magnus Garathun and certainly required him to be no slouch with both hands, seeing as the pace is very quick and incorporates some lightning fills and shredding to ornament an otherwise unchanging fast pace. Bass is not so strong a presence as on the early demo, though Christoffer Bråthen’s vocals get more of a focus on songs like ‘Rising Terror’, the hoarse blackened style getting an extra kick from some Schmier-esque squeals. (Schmier’s from Destruction and is a big man who sometimes sounds like a frightened little girl.) A varied and precise drumming performance from Herman Holen marks his last appearance in Condor colours.

The fills and extra trickery of each bandmember takes the songs here a notch above the group’s pre-album releases, never letting a simple riff do when another trill or bend could be added. They turn in slightly different efforts on the two shorter songs in the middle of the album, those being ‘The Possessor’ and ‘Prophecies of Death and Destruction’, while ‘Intro’ and ‘Pagan Ritual’ allow them to slow down and use some of their skill to create dark atmosphere. For the most part, however, the attraction is speed, riffs, and adrenaline, which would begin to wear thin if the album was much longer. As it is though, Condor doesn’t seem like a test of the listener’s endurance, but that probably depends whether they are exercising for the duration, in which case they’re more likely to have a heart attack.

I find this kind of black thrash highly palatable in these smaller bites, which are being provided by many of the Kolbotn Thrashers Union members (sort of unofficial Norwegian thrash team) and several others, all of whom have probably been patches on Fenriz’s jackets at some point. Condor definitely deserve to be one of the foremost ones, and this album is one of the reasons.

-- May Diamhea's feat of 100 reviews in 7 days remain unbeaten --