Truly there is nothing new under the sun, which might sound a little discouraging for anyone making art because just about everything has been done to this point. That doesn’t mean you can’t put your own stamp on something or figure out new ways to interpret sounds that have been around for a while, which is probably why we have so goddamn many bands. Not a complaint.
Digging back into the Celtic Frost/Venom/Bathory early primordial ooze of metal isn’t exactly unvisited terrain. In fact, they’d like fewer visitors, please. That said, Indonesian power Spellforger (I love that name, by the way) is digging up those old tombs, but it’s for a great reason. The Indonesian scene is kind of devoid of this thing, or so says the press materials because I wouldn’t know personally, and there is so much death metal and slam (please, someone explain this subgenre’s appeal to me), that Spellforger felt the need to remind their countryfolk where this shit came from to begin with. Their debut EP “Upholders of Evil” is six tracks, 22 minutes of pure black thrash bliss that hammers. And that’s the other key point: This band—vocalist Middernacht, guitarist Invoker, bassist Horrifier, drummer Lord Tchort—plays this stuff incredibly well with a precision and exuberance that is absolutely necessary for making this style work. This EP is a total blast, and it makes me think of my own metal formation.
“Upholders of Evil” is a quick intro cut that has noise dawning and cool riffs cutting in, and then we’re into “Lord of Possession” that explodes into vicious punishment. There is great intensity as raw fires rage, and the track gets thrashy as hell with Middernacht’s shrieks piercing your side. The vocals continue to tear apart your veins before things come to a speedy, destructive end. “Metal Crusaders” has leads igniting and fury spat back in your face as the shrieks mix with barked cries. The group chants back over the chorus as the playing mashes, and all the fire leads to a punishing end. “Curse of the Lycans” opens with drums rumbling and Middernacht’s howls blowing through your chest, with speedy guitars looping and making you dizzy. Wild cackles poke at open wounds while the playing pummels, and everything ends in ash. “Black Spellcrafters” delivers delirious riffs as fast, venomous vocals crash down on top of you. The drums detonate and seemingly try to bash skulls in while shrieked howls rain down, and the blinding, ferocious pace has your stomach juices begging for calm. “Pestilentia” ends things and does so in a total eruption with riffs rocketing and a crunchy tempo leaving you bruised. Rage explodes as the guitars race, wild shrieks leave welting, and everything comes to a classic huge metal finish, blowing down your goddamn doors.
Spellforger’s campaign to revitalize the roots of raw, heathenistic metal is on full display on “Upholders of Evil,” a release that’s furious but also one hell of a good time. These six songs show just a glimpse into what the band is capable of doing, and there’s not a stitch of fat on this thing. Everything about this EP is violent and crazed, leaving you exhausted but satisfied when this thing reaches its end.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/spellforger.band
To buy the album, go here: https://www.personal-records.com/product/spellforger-upholders-of-evil/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.personal-records.com/