What a way to open an album. With “Slave Morality” the ZARATHUSTRA squad will have you enthralled. Straight off the mark with some Force 10 blasting, you are swept along by the blizzard of guitars and avalanche of drums. Nice.
With such a worthy beginning you might expect proceedings to go tits up from there but, on the contrary, the band makes use of this EP as a way to have a little fun and serve up a mixed grill of extreme Me(a)tal from surging Black Metal to Black Thrash. Delivered with gusto, “Contempt” steamrollers along with the brake pipes cut so pity cute, furry woodland creatures that get in the way. Bambi, you are toast. Whilst speed plays a significant part, it’s not all rapid fire. There are plenty of slower passages amongst the rush and even the odd and deftly appropriate solo. I can see some of you are aghast at the notion that a gnarly old BM band would sacrifice grimness to cover an eighties hair band song. Well fear not, it’s a take on an even older German BM troop.
“…Of Serpents And Swords” has a more considered, epic approach and like all good slow songs in this vein, it starts of in a measured way before introducing some stomp and gradually upping the tempo. The track ends with a drizzle of acid poured over it before sinking into synths. Everything else here bounds along having caught sight of the rabbit and ain’t going to stop until teeth meet flesh. ZARATHUSTRA have a ripping guitar tone, the surging rhythm obviously spends plenty of time in the gym whilst the lead exhibits a miss-spent youth with an unhealthy interest in sharp objects. The vocalist has prepared for this EP by gargling on crushed ice and his cold croak is a perfect accompaniment to the misanthropy on display. Drum ‘n’ bass are suitably solid, the former adept at anything from Galley ship pounding to all out blast and the latter rumbling like a bulldozer that’s found his wife in bed with the piledriver.
The POISON cover adds a bit of Thrash and Death to the melee and whatever the original sounded like, this battering will leave you bruised for a fortnight afterwards. It all shows that ZARATHUSTRA know something about metal and more than a little about destructive forces. They may not be smiling but you should be after listening to this CD. The cherry on the top is the production which ensures that strength of purpose is made clear but still retaining that fog of war obscurity.
I am impressed with this little number which has certainly got my interest piqued for the next leg lopper from the band. Bridging the gap between some of the more underground sounds to the established BM barnstormers, you can’t go wrong with this one. (Online January 27, 2006)