There are myriad forces against which we do battle. The ones that come from the fantasy element are harmless enough, because those are struggles we have in our heads that can be exciting but ultimately don’t leads to any actual carnage. Then there are the ones around us in real life that threaten to do us in and tear apart society as a whole, structures be damned.
Surely Scottish force Tyrannus didn’t just throw some names in a hat and select one. There’s a good reason for their moniker as their music is pointed right at forces in our own world that embraces fascism and all the bullshit that comes with the package. But there is more than that in these songs that comprise fiery debut record “Unslayable” as the band—vocalist/guitarist Callum John Cant, guitarist Fraser Gordon, bassist/synth player/backing vocalist Alistair Harley, drummer/percussionist Alasdair Dunn—also delves into fantastical horrors and bludgeoning hell, things that would be fought on a level none of us could ever fully imagine. It also helps their mix of death and black metal feels so frenetic and immersive, and this record is an exciting, bloody surge from start to finish.
“A Cruel Dream” opens with clean, moody tones and a thick fog beckoning, and then it’s from that intro piece into “A Worse Reality” where leads burst and send colors flying. The riffs stampede as the drums crunch, and savage heat teams up with speed to rip oxygen from your lungs, and the melodies soar over top, laying waste to everything. “The Flood” is raw and smashing as it starts, gnarly growls leaving bruising on your body. Spacious leads enter the mix, infusing the scene with rich oxygen, and then the vocals shred anew, feeling bestial and punishing, coming to a clobbering end. “It Taketh” is the best track here, mostly because of the lyrics that are gruesome. The guitars light up and deliver force as Cant howls, “Cut the tongue, sever the head, pin the limbs, bind the legs, boil the horror in an iron pot, evil will come to a stop.” This exchange will get locked in your head forever. The bass plods as the guitars tingle, even sounding zany and wonderfully cartoony at points, and everything ends in complete chaos.
“Lake of the Undying” is a strange, eerie instrumental cut that feels like a classic Testament era, melting the mind and flowing into the title track that just rips from the gates. The playing is fast and sinewy, the melody is fluid and infectious, and then things go cleaner for a stretch before violence returns and buries you in shallow soil. “Light the Last Sun” serves up riffs and steaming fury, then gritty growls and a powerful assault continue the insanity. Guitars trickle as things ramp up again, cleanliness giving way to devastating horrors. The playing is slowly bludgeoning as the vocals get uglier, the title is chanted heavily, and the final moments burn out in the sun. “Break the Will of Evil” is the last track, and it starts with bass mauling, the gas pedal smashed, and shrieky howls making the mangling verses even thornier. Clean singing swims into the mix, vibrant riffs come barreling toward you, and Cant wails, “No more hatred, no more oppression, just beauty and love, we will win, we must win and break the chains.” It’s a rousing end to a blistering, exciting experience.
“Unslayable” is a compelling mix of cosmic horror and battling against overzealous forces looking to bring down democracy in place of tyranny. Which, as noted, makes the name Tyrannus fitting and their debut record a truly eye-opening document that not only is packed with righteous themes but also devastating playing that will bring you to your knees. This record will fill your heart with power and glory as well as the will to fight back against anyone trying to hold you back.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/TyrannusEtImperium
To buy the album, go here: https://linktr.ee/Tyrannus
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/truecultrecords