Waffles! Come on, that’s what most people think of when they think of Belgium. At least they do in America. Me? I also think of nice people and daffodils (how Metal is that?) as when I took a school trip from northern France to Belgium many years ago there were fields of the flowers and the people were noticeably warm and friendly (alright, there is ABORTED). All this blather is to say that I doubt many think of Metal when Belgium enters a discussion. That would change if some more folks were to get their hand on EXTERMINATOR’s latest album “Slay Your Kind”. Hailing from that country of sprouts, EXTERMINATOR have actually been around for 15 years, playing with some big hitters like IMMORTAL, SAXON, and ANCIENT RITES, but have only released a few demos and two full length records. Hopefully their third release will garner them more attention.
Let me say, “Slay Your Kind” is one odd album. That’s not a detraction of the collection, just an obvious observation. This is because the primary melodic components of “Slay Your Kind” are not weaved into the songs as you think of with most melodic Metal songs, but separate choruses and passages that are simply weird. Now, “Slay Your Kind” is primarily an attack of Death Metal, pounded out in a slashing fashion with beefy riffs and guttural vocals. This is obvious in the actual first musical track “Road Crash Rebellion” though only after a somewhat creepy eponymous intro of spoken words rises up, reminiscent of the opening of SLAYER’s “Hell Awaits”. After this the song slides nicely into a churning stab of DM. The oddities appear first in the fourth track, “Inside The Pyramid”. After a nice touch of Egyptian guitar work, though nowhere near the intricacy played by NILE, but still enough of that middle-eastern flavour to make it stand out; there then comes an almost kiddy pop passage of vocals and melody. It’s not a bad melody, just seems out of place. Normally this would be a point of contention with me, but it doesn’t bother me on this particular album and the rest of the songs like this are so solid I still find it a compelling listen. It might put some off; those hardcore DM fans who accept no melody, but many will appreciate the unusual nature of these sections of the songs.
The band, consisting of Kris J. (Guitar), Jacky C. (Guitar, brutal and clean vocals), Alan C. (Bass), and Marc (Drums), have chops and show it in many areas, not in technical wizardry, but cool song structures and even just simple distorted power chords. “The Human Vermin” has this o’ plenty, with some of the harshest movements on the album and also intricacies worked in at a good pace. “Cannibalistic Paranoia” brings more weirdness to the fore; this time in sounds of the jungle accompanied by tribal type drumming and a narrative about living as a beast in such a region. There’s a cool, plain chord thrown in before the song then progresses into a churning Death/Thrash epic plunge. “732 Poiters” is primarily a melodic Death song that then weaves in some nice four note melodies and one of the best solos on the album. EXTERMINATOR though kept perhaps the most peculiar track for the last on the album, "Les Souffrance". Mixing an opening of sludgy Death, the song then dips into another bar or two spoken but this time over what is an even more melodic, almost boy band chorus. It probably seems terrible, but I think it is actually very enjoyable. The song finishes with a fantastic neo-classical guitar break that I could listen to all night. For sure, “Slay Your Kind” contains some almost bizarre elements for an album considered DM or even Thrash, but they fit and do not detract from the solid, blasted Metal all around them.
(Online February 7, 2007)