After the Black Thrash opus The Merciless, a four-year hiatus has haunted the Norwegian scoundrels AURA NOIR, during which Aggressor lost the use of his legs after a fall and Apollyon joined the reformed IMMORTAL. Thus things were looking dark for a follow-up to the now classic 2004 hellstorm, but luckily for us these guys are unstoppable, and thus they finally make their filthy return to the underground.
While some bands try experimenting with their sound to keep up with the times, AURA NOIR have stayed faithful to the old-school since their conception in 1993. Thus they remain smack in the middle of the 80s Thrash attack and the recent revival, with total disregard for whatever the current trend might be. "Hades Rise" is no exception, and even though Apollyon handling the drums makes for a more mid-tempo affair than earlier, the sound is still unmistakably that of the ugliest band in the world. The riffs range from cool to absolutely killer (“Shadows Of Death”, “Iron Night/Torment Storm”), and the vocals (which are, as usual, done by both Apollyon and Aggressor) are as raspy and whiskey-drenched as ever. This time around Blasphemer (ex-MAYHEM) has taken on a more passive role than usual, only contributing with leads in three of the songs, without this really detracting much from the overall musical quality.
The slower pace of this album adds an apocalyptic vibe to the mix, and also proves to be the perfect invitation to a headbanging-frenzy, with the raw unpolished sound being as evil as ever. The dirt-stained gems are plentiful, and the riffs are bleeding black blood all over the place, just like you should have come to expect from these guys. There is no doubting that AURA NOIR is one of the finest bands to ever carry the Black Thrash-banner, and hopefully their reign is far from over.
(Online October 12, 2008)