Friday, July 28, 2017

review: Thou Shall Kill

by MMB
Thou Shall Kill
Death King Enthroned
release date: August 19th, 2017
label: independent
Thou Shall Kill is a metal music fanatic's band. This is a headbanger’s headbanging band, for those that live and breathe metal music, that are proud of the word metal, that identify as heavy metal lifers. The name Thou Shall Kill could not be more intense and it represents the nature of this Seattle death metal formation. Led by the larger than life stage presence of the barbarian warrior himself, under the name of Dragonis Khan, Thou Shall Kill is a band with the mission to win your heart and mind. When guitarist growler Dragonis Khan takes the stage, he walks in warrior regalia like someone with a purpose in life. To his left, his partner in brutality is the incorrigible Freak who commands you to form a mosh pit or bang your head or he will scowl at you with the thoughts of revenge. When he gives you the signal, it’s time to thrash, mosh and get moving. He plays the bass, roaming, looking to start the fire in the crowd. To Dragonis Khan’s right, you will find Demonia, the executioner of the strings, who along with the warrior, form a guitar monger’s strategic alliance that lives and dies by the riff. Lastly, the throne is occupied by Animal, a new name given to him right now by this publication, blasting his way through the fog and the thunder.
I have been fortunate to catch the band’s live performance a couple of times so far and I have been wondering how the music would translate in the studio. Can a recording capture the energy and spirit of the band? Let's take a look at the contents and see where things stand with Thou Shall Kill in 2017.
1.Epitaph 1:31
2.Judas Behold: The Scourge of the Nazarene 4:40
After the introduction of deathly peaceful clean guitars, the veil to the madness and chaos is lifted with a huge roaring blasting out of the gates and the band sounds like they broke the chains that were holding them back. They are not holding back anything anymore and are giving it their all to make a proper, traditional death metal track that establishes unwavering allegiance to the sounds of classic extreme metal, turning all the dials to eleven.
3.Kingdom Of Shadows 4:04
This song is unmistakable. You won't forget it, either. I have heard it live and I knew which one it was immediately on the recording. It has a very particular blasting beginning of stop/start, then the speed kicks into high gear after the song takes off. On this track shredding soloing takes over toward the end of the song. Sharp and fast, it’s a very cool part of the song.
4.Weapons of War 4:53
A scorcher blasting from beginning to end, basically. The inspiration and spirit of classic death metal is alive in the form of Thou Shall Kill. The scream at the beginning of the song reminded me of a certain sound in particular, one that is used to announce that it's time to bang your head with what's to come. Sure enough, in an instant the guitars are shredding and on the march. The drums are pummeling as fast as possible. The linear, direct structure of the song is definitely pleasing to the ear, especially for when what you really want to do is bang your head or rock out. This song will make you drive fast and go faster than the speed limit. You can't drive 55 to this one.
5.Buried Beneath 5:19
Don't get the wrong impression about Thou Shall Kill. This is not a one-trick pony at all. The previous song is a celebration of everything blasting, speed, brutality and frenzy. Nonetheless, this track here is a completely different dimension: super heavy, marching at a slow pace through some chugging, with tremolo parts, with slow drumming, while the fast double bass kicks provide a constant jumpstart. In the last minute a melodic guitar solos warns that the end is at hand and it's not until the last 37 seconds that the band decides to go full speed down the stretch as a way to bring it home.
6.Doomsday Creation 6:33
Is it better to fade into the end or to go out with a bang? On this occasion, the decision has been made and the intentions are unequivocal. The marching orders are clear. Go big or go home. Rather, go out the door kicking and screaming like maniac. There's quite a bit going on here. There's blasting speed, but not exclusively; there are bits and echoes of extreme metal's past; some quick shredding. The song begins like a closer with some chords that say "let's go, let's go" and soon this creature is barreling down the road, with the band throwing down as hard as they possibly can.
In conclusion, Thou Shall Kill is a band that has done their homework. They took this recording seriously. This does not sound like a demo or a rehearsal. It's meant to be a professional recording for those that take their extreme metal seriously. Even though the shredding soloing and the more melodic soloing have a bit of a reduced or shortened role, it is a good element of the band's identity. Finally, Thou Shall Kill is traditional extreme metal, mostly in the realm of classic-style death metal, in which tight execution and skill are paramount, and the fundamental focus—despite all the chaos, brutality, speed and a general love for high-energy intensity and heaviness—remains the songs. The band should be proud of this recording for sure. It is their best yet.

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