Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2021
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

No wasted space - 75%

we hope you die, April 7th, 2021

Despite the aggressively power metal vibe one gets from this band’s compound word moniker, Spellforger are no Rhapsody of Fire wannabes. However, their uncanny meeting of Sarcofago and Hammerfall is about as close as blackened thrash can come to power metal without going full cloaks and swords on us. Their latest EP – ‘Upholders of Evil’ – is twenty minutes of tight, energetic, and remarkably fresh melodic thrash metal with a distinctively blackened bent to it. Much like the recent success of Demoniac’s ‘So it Goes’, Spellforger are polishing up and old form, allowing us to find new joys and new potentials in archaic forms.

The production would be fitting of a juiced up NWOBHM album. Guitars offer a razor-sharp distortion, focused towards articulating the taught, playful riffing whilst granting the lead guitar work plenty of weight and gravity. Drums offer a concise and creative battering to underlay this, but the lavish reverb applied to the snare is welcome rather than distracting. Vocals stick to commonplace thrash barks, pivoted toward percussive power over elongated notes; that being said, plenty of banshee screams emerge from the mix throughout this EP which brings an additional retro sheen to this otherwise insistently modern take on old forms.

Of the tracks themselves, efficiency if the name of the game. There is no wasted space, and no element is overlaboured for the sake of cheap statements. The riffs stick with classic thrash stylings for the most part, with a distinctive orientation toward heavy metal melodicism. And it’s this sense of melody that ultimately elevates this EP above standard old school worship. Spellforger are not afraid to pick up scraps of melodic licks from their atonal riffs and run with them to create new bridges or even entirely new segments over the course of a track. Frequent drum fills add to the frantic, eager nature of this music, like a dog fresh out of training and keen to demonstrate the many tricks now under its belt.

Spellforger display an abundance of engaging riffs; what they lack in mind-blowing originality they more than make up for with enthusiasm and sheer quantity. But more importantly on ‘Upholders of Evil’ they prove themselves adept at stitching these many ideas together in a flowing, intuitive, playful dance of energy. This EP bounds out of the stables and does not let up until the thing has run its course. It never grows tired or stale despite the fact that every moment is pregnant with unadulterated classic metal riffing, the music constantly refreshes itself in new and interesting ways that still fit with the moment that preceded it. A triumphant debut EP with bundles of character and creativity in its purest form.

Originally published at Hate Meditations