I’ve been listening to heavy metal since the middle of the 1980s, which means two things. First, I’m old as fuck. Second, I’ve had one hell of an enriching experience over that time listening to this style develop, watching new approaches pop up, and witnessing cycles repeat. It’s a pretty great wealth of knowledge to have, and it makes hearing bands unearth classic sounds an endless nostalgia trip.
Black thrashers Daeva have been one of those bands that makes my decades of worshipping at the altar of metal pay off, as their full-length debut “Through Sheer Will and Black Magic…” is a trip through multiple eras of the most powerful form of music on earth. Before this, we had an EP from the band—vocalist Edward Gonet, guitarist Steve Jansson, bassist Frank Chin, drummer Enrique Sagarnaga, three quarters of the awesome Crypt Sermon—so this nine-track effort held a lot of anticipatory excitement for me. Now that it’s here, it pays off that initial batch of songs and goes even further, delivering danger, madness, and filthy chaos that is informed by thrash, black metal, and even the mangiest of punk. It contains so much of the heavy metal canon but bent to their will, making something fresh and dangerous that sounds like it’s stalking you at night to drain your blood.
“Intro (Emanations)” enters in strange and eerie noises as the moodiness gets danker, heading into “The Architect and the Monument” that sweeps in and hammers you with speed. Gonet howls, “Curses and pointed repugnancy, delivered slow and monotone,” as the playing chugs and melts, the furious heat increasing and leaning hard on your frayed nerves. The soloing rips as the vocals continue to punish, blasting until an abrupt end. “Arena at Dis” splatters as the vocals rip and wail, the punishing playing dealing bruising blows. “Enter the champion, every knuckle cracks, making a fist around the handle of a mace, only one will remain within the charged cage,” Gonet levels as things come unglued, and the band amplifies the thrashy horror, smothering and jabbing its way out. “Passion Under the Hammer” has guitars jolting, the vocals scraping, and attacks coming from every angle. The temperature rises as the power gets more oppressive, the playing fades momentarily for clean guitars to trickle, and a foggy chill drives this home. “Loosen the Tongue of the Dead” clubs hard, playing fast and ferociously, the vocals ripping at flesh. A chant-like chorus sends chills as mystical winds blow, the blazing picks up again, and that intensity charges until it fades in the darkness.
“Fragmenting in Ritual Splendor” explodes with frustrated grunts and the tempo blasting, taking off and letting your blood rush through your veins. The playing gets reckless and mangling as the guitars tear off the lid, the shrieks destroy, and speed kills to the end. “Polluting the Sanctuary (Revolutions Against Faith)” enters amid riffs racing for an edge, the vocals feeling like they’re trying to crush your digits. The guitars try to tangle and trip you up as the metallic charges increase dangerously, bringing absolute hell as Gonet ends the tirade with, “Embrace death’s cold kiss, Revolutions! Against! Faith!” “Itch of the Bottle” clobbers right off the bat, digging into the earth and triggering lava flow, the vocals scorching and jabbing. The playing is fast and disruptive as the guitar work squeezes throats, the drums gallop viciously, and the riffs smear soot in your mouth, leaving you choking on the bitterness. Closer “Luciferian Return” is the longest track on here, running 7:07 and blinding as it establishes a dangerous environment. “Shattering the seraphs on cold and unyielding surfaces of polished glass, meteoric fumes of the lusting blockade reach far and wide, enormous force has isolated the kingdom, haunting sounds like razors in a furious spin,” Gonet waxes furiously, the fires raining down from the skies as the pace twists and turns, even leaning into hypnotic waters. The drums pummel, the guitars encircle, and the final moments spread fires of eternal damnation.
The madness and torment Daeva lather all over “Through Sheer Will and Black Magic…” does an expert job mixing eras, dining from the thrash’s origins in the ’80s, black metal’s rise to power in the ’90s, and the volatility of today’s brand of existence. It’s impossible to walk away from this record not fully torched, feeling like you’ve been through a vile struggle that tries to claim your psyche. This is a relentless battle, spiritual torment that turns your well-being to pools of blood and piss in which you are forced to tread.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/daevablackthrash
To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/search?type=product&q=daeva
For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/
Great review, and coming from the same time in my life as you to metal, I especially jive with your opening paragraph.