With the recent trend of bands harkening back to an older sound, it was only going to be time before a band came out with something that was very reminiscent of the first wave of Black Metal (which is really just NWOBHM and Thrash Metal with darker tones). Even though the band has been around for sometime, they were formed in 1992 but didn’t have an album until 1999; maybe they are finally getting some attention because of this trend. This is great, because instead of just copying the sound of older Black Metal they are combining its ideas and sound with their own touch.
SUICIDAL WINDS is a band that really touches on the ideas that these early ‘Black Metal’ bands were playing with. It’s hard to deny this connection when the band’s name is also a CELTIC FROST song title. That in itself should clue one into what’s going to happen on SUICIDAL WINDS’ fourth studio record, “Chaos Rising”. It’s still modern enough that it doesn’t sound dated but it still has some of the elements that made the originators of Black Metal unique.
Firstly, I would like to give SUICIDAL WINDS a big pat on the back for doing what many newer Black Metal bands could never do. They created a raw and harsh sounding album with a decent production. Using a different tone on the guitars and using the vocalist’s raspy vocals to their harshest capacity really makes the music sound raw and not just the production sounding raw. Even the drums have a rough edge to them that really adds to this. This is a nice change of pace compared to many of the other bands out there. It sets aside “Chaos Rising” from the rest of the pack.
Now the musical value of the album is what I was most impressed with. SUICIDAL WINDS isn’t afraid to really change it up within the confines of their own sound. They play old school Black Metal with lots of Thrash elements but they even push the ideas of this. Including a ‘ballad’ on the album is gutsy enough for any of the more extreme sub-genres, but SUICIDAL WINDS’ “Ballade Of Death” not only appears on the album but it succeeds as a slower and more melodic song. In fact, it’s one of the most impressive songs on the album and it doesn’t take away from any of the other faster and harsher tracks. It probably makes them more relevant.
All of the band member’s give amazing performances on their instruments too. Whether it’s the harsh vocals (that truly are a mix of Thrash and Black Metal vocals) or the dueling guitars that trade off riffs, leads, and solos – they all hit their mark. Hell, even the bassist does a nice little instrumental at the last 4 minutes of the “Untitled” bonus track.
SUICIDAL WINDS really have hit something special with “Chaos Rising”. Not many bands can pull off that original Black Metal sound without sounding cheesy but this is a classy example of when it works. Although the album does have some of its own oddities, most of the minor flaws are overcome with the great song writing and performances.
Songs to check out: “Annihilation And Chaos”, “Ballade Of Death”, “Born To Hate”.
(Online February 29, 2008)