Dreadful Relic - Hyborian Sorcery - (9/10)
Published on March 9, 2018
New Wave of First Wave Black Metal (NWOFWBM)
Do you ever get sick of listening to Celtic Frost? No? What about Hellhammer? No, too, huh? Well, since they don’t exist anymore, can I offer you another band whom I believe you will enjoy very much? Have I got a deal for you!
Their name is Dreadful Relic, and they released a superb CF/Hellhammer/first wave worship album in February. Even though the cover of the album looks more like a melodeath band (or something…I’m not really certain honestly), this is pure, simple, battering first wave black metal at its finest. The band’s biggest strength perhaps might be seen as its biggest weakness by some: these guys really sound like Tom G. Warrior and co. I mean, if the vocals weren’t different, I might think this was some lost CF release around the time of To Mega Therion. Fortunately, these guys have unique, deep, black metal vocals rather than Tommy G’s signature shout. It works really well in this context and I found it enjoyable throughout. Warm guitars punch out riff after riff of Celtic chaos that will have you banging your head from start to finish. They do an excellent job of mimicking the “is it black metal or is it something else or is it just its own thing” riffs of CF and Hellhammer. You’re asking if there are solos. Yes, there are solos, but they’re mostly just tremolo ravaged, maniacal shredders that serve to increase the turmoil. Occasionally, twisted melodies appear in the background, but these are just barely audible and are not the primary draw here. For the most part, this thing is fast paced and mean, simple and aggressive—no frills at all. The drummer just pounds away relentlessly, utilizing simple beat after simple beat to increase the power and force of the almighty riffs. The bass kind of just fuzzes in the background but provides a nice backdrop for the rest of the band. Occasionally one is provided a break from the madness—these come in the form of an intro (“Crom’s Ruinous Winds”), an interlude (“Stygian Oath”), and an outro (“Black doom in the Serpent’s Nest”). Otherwise, be prepared to be mutilated in just the most pleasant way.
I really wish I could write more about this album, because it is high quality, but it’s very difficult to move past “it sounds like Celtic Frost,” because there really isn’t a better way to describe these guys. This album is something special and something you’ve heard before at the same time. On the one hand, we’ve heard this done better by Celtic Frost. But on the other hand, nobody could expect someone to do To Mega Therion better than them, and these guys do it better than most. If you’re looking to re-enter the Circle of the Tyrants, give this one a shot.