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And Still We Wait for Mephistopheles to Deliver Us - 87%

bayern, June 19th, 2017

I had completely forgotten about this band, but since I was listening to Sunless Sky’s latest “Doppelganger” the other day, another vehicle for the guitar wizard Curran Murphy (Shatter Messiah, Annihilator, etc.), whose first venture into the metal arena was with the band under scrutiny here, I couldn’t help but recall this gem from the 90’s, one of the better albums from those dark times, and one that was brave enough to “marry” the old school to the 90’s vogues; successfully. The main reason why people don’t mention them right beside Nevermore right now is that they only released one opus, the one reviewed here, before disappearing. Regardless of the not sizeable volume of their legacy, one should pay kudos to them for creating one of the better classic/modern hybrids of the 90's.

This effort came right in the middle of the decade the guys willing to make a difference amidst the groovy/aggro/alternative craze. To go against the grain with all the guns blazing meant to condemn yourself to complete oblivion even before your career even started, and our friends here were well aware of that fact. In other words, they used the dominant tastes as a base by developing their own brand of heavy progressive thrash with echoes of the old canons which pounds and stomps its way with the most seismic, volcanic riffs around on the opening “Numb” before a fast-paced stroke puts an end to the earth-shaking cannonade. “Erosion” begins with supreme technical knots that threaten to turn into a Coroner-esque vortex any moment, and although that doesn’t happen, this is a most enchanting start to this crunchy shredder which patiently marches forward with doomy escapades and gorgeous melodic leads added to the fore, the technical exploits from the beginning emerging at some point as well. “They Walk Among Us” combines heaviness and melody the sterile mechanical riffage recalling early Meshuggah, chugging with an even heavier reverberation, reaching doomy proportions before the end.

“Poisoned Minds” “flirts” with melodic tunes at first, but the prevalent mid-paced delivery remains intact throughout although the guys spice things up with more dynamic developments mid-way where the otherwise composed mid-ranged clean singer tries a few shattering apocalyptic screams; those by all means fit the more dramatic nature of this over 8.5-min progressiver which flows into the more intense and marginally speedier “The Hell We Make”, a jumpier, livelier proposition with subtle Oriental tunes and several nearly headbanging decisions the guy behind the mike again pitching it quite high, trying to beat Rob Halford himself at his own game. “Nothing Stands” unleashes a whirlwind of bouncy boisterous rhythms which get interlaced with calmer bluesy undercurrents, the riff density reaching the one of Nevermore on “The Politics of Ecstasy”. “Godsend” recalls “Erosion” with the gathering of arresting intriguing rifforamas at the start that lead to a labyrinth of 10-ton hammering riffs, this impenetrable wall of thick steam-rolling sounds pricked by odd flashes of technicality which gets increased for “Oblivion”, this last temptation, actually recalling the Canadians Obliveon quite a bit, their “Cybervoid” effort in particular, with the dry rhythm-section and the hypnotic main ultra-heavy motif.

Although the epitomized main delivery, based on heavy not very eventful riff-patterns, creates the impression that not much occurs during these 47-min, it also nicely draws a trajectory that brings the album in the vicinity of other stylish 90’s products like Aleister’s Tribal Tech”, Afterdeath’s “Backwords”, and Tefilla’s “Grievous Anguish”. Like with all of those showings there’s no concentration on speed at all as the musicians weave their tapestries with patience and unwavering confidence. There was definitely potential in this kind of complex modern thrash style that may also have been translated into the new millennium with the old school resurrection campaign and all... Alas, the band split up a few years later unable to produce a follow-up. Some of the band members appeared in 2001 on the attempt made by David Wayne (R.I.P.) to resurrect Reverend (the “Gathering of Demons” EP), and after this spell didn’t work out they founded the metalcore formation All the Hellbound. Murphy joined the thrash metallers Aggression Core before establishing the power/thrash outfit Shatter Messiah, his main occupation for the past 14 years. As Faustus the guys paid their share to the Cunning One; they’re free from any obligation to him except as major purveyors of the Devil’s music.