November 24, 2023
The origins of North American Black Metal paradigm are deeply rooted in Black/Thrash Metal of the 80s (especially on early works of acts as SLAYER, SODOM and DESTRUCTION), what discommodity on puritan fans of the genre (even with such influences are on European Black Metal schools as well). And even after all these years, some surprises can be heard from USA Black Metal, as the third album of the Blacksburg (Virginia) duet DEATH SHROUD, “Parhelion”. It’s obvious that Sterthanas and Malevictus drank deep from early Black/Thrash Metal works as “Persecution Mania”, “Hell Awaits” and “Infernal Overkill”, but added a new set on influences onto it (as some Old School Black Metal touches inherited from BATHORY and HELLHAMMER), a technical care on the arrangements that are usually heard on USA Metal bands of any genre, and even some somber melodies (as can be heard clearly on “The Four Agreements”).
It’s a furious whip of energy and aggressiveness, nasty and rough, but tempered with the experience of being their third album (what mean that many can be expected from it). The sonority of “Parhelion” seems to trying to combine a rough and crude appeal of the 90s with the definition that’s usual today. The final result is good, because it creates the link between the past and the present, with things defined and understandable, but in an aggressive and organic form. Obviously their music deserves something better, but’s good for now.
8 songs are presented on the album (even this aspect on the band’s music is in an Old School way), but sometimes it demands patience to be fully understood (even being extremely immersive for the senses) due the rich set of instrumental arrangements. But for begin with it, have your own dive into their particular fiery abyss on “The Isolationist” (a full force and fast song with some good rhythmic shifts, but plenty of massive hooks and excellent shrieks on the vocals), “Duality” (a strong and rough song with hooking tempos, but with fine work on bass guitar and on the drums programming), “The Four Agreements” (this is where their Black/Thrash Metal essence appears clearly in the middle of their massive maelstrom of guitar riffs, but pay attention to the melodic sinister parts of it), “Parhelion” (some elements of Hard Rock and dirty Rock ‘n’ Roll in the vein of MOTÖRHEAD can be heard into the essence of this Old School Black Metal from the 90s, with hooks in a way that’s impossible to resist to), “Bloodsex” (a massive and fast Black/Thrash Metal storm in form of music, with extreme shrieks entwined by simple and hooking riffs), and “Carried on Ancient Winds” (another Black ‘n’ Roll song into a ‘motörheadian’ way, with a massive impact on the ears).
Too much can be expected from a third album (as a tradition in the Metal scene), but “Parhelion” passed the test in a great way. So give a chance for yourself, listen to DEATH SHROUD’s work, and blow your ears out!
9 / 10
- The Isolationist
- The Threefold Law of Return
- The Four Agreements
- The Five Hindrances
- Carried on Ancient Winds
Death Shroud Lineup:
Sterthanas - Vocals, Guitars, Drum Programming
Malevictus - Bass, Backing Vocals