SUICIDAL ANGELSí "Eternal Domination" is a bizarre album. Seamlessly melding fastidious scrupulosity and a raw sense of delirious anger doesnít sound like an attainable task, but SUICIDAL ANGELS does just that. Every fathomable musical element is accounted for on "Eternal Domination"Ėan album so brutal, so unapologetic in its anti-Christian overtones, that this musical juxtaposition feels all the more strange. Rather, the fact that this fusing of raw passion and meticulosity feels natural is what feels so strange. "Eternal Domination" is an album that follows a very linear timeline; it starts with an idea, and it doesnít expand beyond that idea very often. The drummer is the obvious exception to this theory; he plays around with a countless number of fills, and time and time again, his playing is where the listenerís focus is drawn.
What we have here is pretty standard brutal Thrash MetalĖthink somewhere in between KREATOR and MORBID ANGEL. The riffs are all very similar; they all sound precisely mapped out, like they were all stemmed from the same blueprint. The riffs do sound genuinely exciting during the first few songs, but their exhilarative qualities begin to deteriorate approximately halfway into the album. The first few songs, "Quench Your Thirst With Christian Souls" and "Evil Attack" especially are relentlessly violent Thrash Metal affairs. As the guitar riffs begin to sound similar to those which preceded them, the drumming is forced to carry the song. And boy is that man an animal. Not a shred of the musicís perfectionist nature is lost as the drummer experiments with various fills, and the speeds that he is forced to attain in order to coincide with the music at large are awe-inspiring.
I donít mean to describe the guitarists as failures; they certainly arenít. They may have only worked with a handful of ideas here, but those ideas, as minimal as they are, are all excellent. Thrash Metal afficionados will feel comfortable with SUICIDAL ANGELSí brand of well-established Thrash riffing, and those new to the genre will most likely be won over by the sheer ferocity of the music. The singer growls his bible-bashing lyrics in a mannerism that is part Mille Petrozza part David Vincent, and his raspy bite is easy to become enthralled with despite its inherent ugliness, or at least to anyone with a penchant for sinful, nasty Thrash Metal.
The production here is brilliant. It somehow manages to accentuate the gritty tones presented by the singer and guitarists while making everything sound crisp and accessible as well. Itís this rare balance that sets this album apart from its contemporaries. Each respective performance can be identified, but nothing sounds overly polished. This band has a hateful message to send, and they arenít about to sacrifice that messageís integrity by clothing it in pretty disguises.
While "Eternal Domination" does feel a little trite at times, it is still a good album, and it borders on being a great album. Complaints all stem from the variety issue, but this is the bandís debut LP, and they have plenty of time to perfect their craft.
(Online September 25, 2008)