Blade of Horus
Obliteration

As we plunge into 2019, the often patchy January release schedule provides ample opportunity to delve into the overlooked gems of 2018, particularly those that dropped during December, generally a month of slim returns. However, Sulphur Aeon and Beaten to Death headed the bands bucking the trend of end of year mediocrity. Another band of great promise that dropped an album in December was gifted Sydney upstarts Blade of Horus with their debut LP, Obliteration. Death metal had a huge year in 2018 with a thick stream of beefy goodness from across the deathly spectrum keeping fans entertained. So how does Obliteration stack up against the cream of the 2018 death metal crop?

Well the answer is pretty fucking well. Plying their trade with impressive instrumental chops and tons of energy and intensity, Blade of Horus hit the ground running with a compact LP of powerful tunes, clocking-in under the half hour mark. Blade of Horus play an interesting and potent mix of brutal technical death spliced with slam elements to create a meaty concoction of technical flair, catchy song-writing, and a fat dose of brutality. The album hits high gear early with opener “God Slayer” offering a thrashy slice of brutality, killer grooves and technical prowess.

From the outset the band’s excellent musicianship comes to the fore, but the complexity and noodly indulgence doesn’t come at the expense of good song-writing. A trend that carries through the duration of the album, Blade of Horus incorporate swift and intelligent variations in tempo and structure, even applying some Middle Eastern-styled melodies into the equation on “God Slayer Part II: Fall of the Ancients.” However, for all their technical finesse, Blade of Horus certainly don’t skimp on the brutality and the album’s more strained moments, dicing grooves, and punishing slams carry enormous weight and lend a solid degree of memorability.

Obliteration is a remarkably consistent outing with the efficient run-time and lack of filler boding well for replay value. From thrashy bursts, techy forays, and brutal slams, Blade of Horus bring the riffs consistently and their solid grip of song-writing dynamics shines through. The title track offers a great showcase of the band’s various strengths, whipping from frenzied blasts to adrenaline charged thrash surges, right down to the vile vocal eruptions and cement smashing slams. Topped off with some eloquent shredding, it’s a hell of a tune. The measured yet unpredictable throes of “Temple” and the bludgeoning “Embrace the Abyss” are another pair of highlights on an album full of them. Closing (bonus) track “Cyber Demon” even features guest spots from Psycroptic drummer Dave Haley and Vulvodynia vocalist Duncan Bentley for added impact.

There are no major complaints I can direct at Obliteration. It’s an accomplished and fresh sounding album, featuring a first class balancing act between tech and slam infected death. Production is crisp and clear, although heavily bricked, but it largely gets the job done well enough, with a solid mix of clarity and heft. Obliteration may have dropped at the end of 2018 with little fanfare, but it’s a high quality release that deserves to be heard. And if Blade of Horus can harness their strengths and build further upon their impressive sound, the future looks very bright indeed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
January 31st, 2019

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