I think these chaps drink bleach, it would certainly explain the corrosive content of “Salvation Like Destruction.” The trenchant tussle of Thrash and Black Metal will singe away your ear hairs as this distinctly seasoned stinger eats its way into your noggin.
ASSAULTER forge a sound that reminds of a biker's cut-off, it's been dragged through the dirt, covered in oil and reeks of the consequences of too many drunken nights and pub fights, in short this lot sound nasty. I'm not talking spawn of Satan unpleasantness, more the brawling brigandage evoked when these two sub-genres steer clear of overt devilry. The abrasive guitar tone means that the riffs leave scuff marks as they bound along, they also leave traces of scum from the caustic froth, you'll need a good hosing down after listening to this album.
The production here ensures that the shit beats the shine and there is a home-brewed quality to these songs. That means that all the constituent parts have to fight it out to exert any emphasis, the end result being an equilibrium that only gets tipped by the lysergic lead guitar scrawl that frequently scribes itself along the body of this work. The building blocks of ASSAULTER's sound are stacked from strong Thrash roots, elements of Black Metal add rust and rudimentary atmosphere, such as the utterly uncomplicated synth drone that reveals itself from obscurity on “Proselytiser.” For the most part though “Salvation Like Destruction” is ripped by the riff, whether it be the predominant mid to fast pace gouging or the less frequent but very welcome frantic scouring found when the brakes are fully released.
ASSAULTER manage to instil a sense of portent into their music, this isn't beer swilling chucklesome Thrash, there's an ill wind blowing and there's smoke on the horizon. This sniff of the sinister is enhanced by the ancient Doom undertones to “Awe Of Fire,” which is drenched in a 70's vibe despite the strength of contemporary heaviness. The snarling vocals also add to the old school feeling, feral and full of contempt, they certainly aren't visiting pleasantries upon the listener, they may be somewhat linear over the course of the album but they remain convincing. The drumming keeps itself busy, content in exploiting a range of battery rather than heads down, straight ahead pummelling, the dynamics constantly shift but the clatter remains effective whatever the tempo.
There is a string of narrative flowing through the album, these instruments maintain a theme with the occasional release of testosterone darkening the already light-shy tone. There are occasional dips in intensity, particularly towards the end of the album, however they are fleeting and generally the potency remains strong, a menacing drop on the end of a bared fang. Despite the crust of crud and skin of seriousness, there are plenty of times when twitching of the neck muscles will be induced and whilst you may not be smiling, your head will find itself nodding in accompaniment.
As far as I'm concerned, ASSAULTER score by having melded tradition with the fresher stench of recent times. They carve many motifs into their sound, preventing the staleness such a solemn aspect might otherwise present. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this CD comes packaged in sandpaper.
(Online June 1, 2009)