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Black thrashing malevolence. - 91%

ConorFynes, March 12th, 2016

Deströyer 666 remained on the periphery for me for the longest time. For my negligence, I feel I should be apologizing to myself. I never took KK Warslut's earlier work with Bestial Warlust as seriously as some of the people around me at the time, who seemed to bring them up whenever the tenth beers were cracked. Ironically, what D666 songs I'd been shown by friends over the years I did enjoy, but I was usually too pissed at that point in the evening to give it real attention. I'm glad I mended this gap in my listening history relatively recently, and I have a masterpiece like Cold Steel... for an Iron Age to thank for firing up my excitement so quickly.

For me, Deströyer 666 are the answer to a long search of mine. Black-thrash in theory is the musical equivalent of a velociraptor-- vicious, fast and deceptively intelligent. There are a lot of bands that use elements of both fairly well, but up to the point of hearing D666, the only band I'd heard that wrung the best potential from both had been Absu. Cold Steel... for an Iron Age gives me the same sense of rushing annihilation that hooked me onto the best Absu records. The thing that makes Deströyer 666 so good is that, like Absu, they're able to combine mentalities that aren't often seen together in metal. There's a primal sense of malevolence, and hedonistic grease that KK Warslut carried on from his Bestial Warlust days. With Deströyer 666, that straightforward punch got mixed in with higher brow ambitions and sophistication.

A new listener might not think Cold Steel... is a complex album on first listening to it. That's part of the charm. The songs here would make for the best kind of headbang fodder, but the riffs and song structures make the music out to be so much more than that. In interviews I've read of his, KK Warslut's given shout-outs to forward-thinking black metal acts like The Ruins of Beverast, and I think you can hear that penchant for "intelligent extremity" in everything D666 have done to date. So often, it seems like everyone within the thrash sphere have idolized the 80s at the expense of everything that's come since. Cold Steel... for an Iron Age is arguably equal parts (if not more) thrash as black metal, and D666 are using the merits of thrash without being tied down to some of its predictable clichés.

When all is said, Cold Steel... isn't just great for the fact that its creators aren't afraid to give their aggression some thought. It excels in all of the ways I'd judge a regular thrash album by: among other things, the riffs and energy. A lot of the riffs on this album are immediately devastating, and it's an added bonus that they're able to write great hooks into such technical playing. There are so many tracks on this album that struck me immediately. "Black City - Black Fire", "Sons of Perdition", "Raped", "The Calling" and "Savage Pitch" blew me away within a couple of listens. In particular, the title track, "Cold Steel...", hooked me from the first time I listened to this album. The militant drums, amphetamine energy and ravenously nihilistic lyrics indicated to me at once I was listening to a truly great band. Even the songs I didn't mention are great. Cold Steel... is a relatively short listen, and it leaves absolutely no room for filler. With the sort of velocity Deströyer 666 are firing away at on this album, anything longer probably would have tested a listener's endurance.

From everything I've heard of them (and I've heard a great deal of it already) Deströyer 666's career has been remarkably consistent, and Cold Steel... for an Iron Age might be my favourite of the lot. All of the songs here are incendiary. There is so much potential in a black-thrash hybrid, and there's not a moment wasted on this album where that potential isn't put to good use.