Thanatos
Angelic Encounters, Undead. Unholy. Undivine,. Justified Genocide (Reissues)

Angelic Encounters

8 long years had passed since the second album, Realm of Ecstasy, was released from Thanatos and I had eagerly anticipated Angelic Encounters, but was let down by the production and this had nothing to do with the songs, as they are some of the best the band had ever done.  Armed with a new line-up, including Paul Baayens on second guitar, Theo van Eekelen on bass and Aad Kloosterwaard, from Sinister, on drums, you had quite the players here.  The problem was the drum sound really effin sucked and Aad, god bless him, drummed his heart out on this album, but the production made the drums sound tinny and no real oomph to them.  The guitars and bass sounded rather flat, however I listened to the album, quite a bit, since the songs destroyed.  Also the death/thrash sound that had been the Thanatos staple for so long, had now started to move more towards a death metal sound, leaving much of the thrash influence behind.

Several years back Thanatos remixed this sucker, but towards the end of last year, the band and Century Media, had the remix remastered by Dan Swanö, who has been responsible for all the Thanatos remasterings, with the last 2 Thanatos remasterings just about out.  To say this remastering is excellent is an understatement and the remix/remastering has really helped make Angelic Encounters sound heavier and more punishing.  Boy the drum sound has been helped along to such a degree that I hope Aad, has this version, to hear how his extraordinary drum playing has come to life on this.  Stephan really embraced his death metal vocals during this time and he also throws in some black metal screams.  The title track is still one of my favorite Thanatos songs and to hear it remastered made me pick up a few trucks and throw them around town, in a frenzy.  Right before that 5 minute mark, with the intense build-up and than the songs kicks your teeth in is beyond intense.

Obviously the drumming of Aad, who brought along his Sinister influenced blast beats, helped to make this album the most intense Thanatos, up to that point. “Infuriated” really pounds hard and is ferocious.  The blast beats are sprinkled throughout this album.  As a bonus the mcd Beyond Terror is included here and the remastering sounds flawless and of course the Possessed and Celtic Frost covers are some of the best around.  The reissue is rounded out with a killer booklet containing lyrics, pics and liner notes.  Trust me when I say this is the definitive version of an underrated classic and Angelic Encounters shines leaps and bounds with this reissue.  Buy or Die!

 

635279725521812256Undead.Unholy.Divine

Undead.Unholy.Divine was originally released, by Thanatos, in 2004 and when this album came out, it really ushered in the start of the band gelling like never before.  Paul and Stephan really complimenting eachother wonderfully on guitar and Marco’s excellent bass lines coming through.  Yuri’s drumming truly taking center stage on this album.  This reissue was just released in February, through Century Media Records & remastered by Dan Swanö, who has been responsible for all the Thanatos remasterings.  The album sounds better than ever with the drums sounding enormous on this.  The bonus tracks are an ep, that consists of the band re-recording ‘…And Jesus Wept’ and a terrific cover of Dark Angel’s classic tune, ‘The Burning of Sodom’.  Stephan adding some killer high screams to the cover.

The theme running throughout this album always seemed to be religion, the horrors of faith and there is an evil undertone throughout this release, that makes this my favorite Thanatos album.  It could be the fact that the well placed sampling of sound clips from my favorite movie of all time, The Exorcist, adds to the evilness this album breathes forth.  ‘Lambs to the Slaughter’ gets things underway with its well thought out and controversial lyrical content.  The creepy intro with a clip from The Exorcist, adding to the foreboding nature of the track, before eventually going into the song, which sports a killer groove, great bass lines and some outstanding blast beats.  Stephan, sidestepped his more death metal vocal approach, that he had been using on Angelic Encounters, and went for his previous raspier/higher pitched vocal delivery.  He mixes in some lower end growls here and there.  ‘Beyond Terror’ has a nice intro with killer thrash, start/stop riffing than blast beats.  The 1.50 blast beat is ferocious, by the way.  ‘Godforsaken’ sees Stephan going for a lower vocal delivery in spots, nice guitar solos and some European stylized blasts and thrash riffing.  There are other Exorcist clips along the way and ‘Servants of Hatred’, is one of the finest songs the band has ever done.  The 1.15 guitar riff with the bass and than drums kicking in is surely to induce chest collapsing and a little past the 2 minute mark is so ridiculously heavy and amazing, with Stephan’s vocals joining in on the slaughter.

This album really solidified the band had a stable line-up and this is another great reissue.  This is rounded out with a nice booklet containing liner notes, pictures and lyrics.  Replace your original copy now!

 

635279725642556468Justified Genocide

Several years had passed since Thanatos released Undead.Unholy.Divine, before Justified Genocide was unleashed upon mankind in 2009.   This is the final reissue of their material that Century Media just recently put out featuring another killer remastering by Dan Swanö.  Thanatos had achieved their finest guitar tone with this album, that just comes out more with the remastering.  The guitar tone is akin to a razor slicing through your flesh, leaving chunks of skin lying all over the place.  While their last album had more of a theme of religion and evilness on it, Justified Genocide has more anger and the theme seems to surround mankind’s screwed up nature and how evil man can be.

The bonus cover of Sacrifice’s classic song, ‘Re-Animation’ is very cool, indeed.  ‘They Feed on Fear’ has a nice opening with a great solo at the 2 minute mark.  Nice guitar melodies throughout this song and a blast a little later on.  Stephan’s vocals delivery sounding as he did on the previous album and towards the end he adds a nice scream and there is a cool blast beat too.  ‘Destruction.Chaos.Creation’ has a very heavy opening to the song with excellent bass and drums.  The 1.10 beat is classis and the start/stop riffing during the groove is lethal.  There are screams on this track, brutal old school thrash beats and nice blast beats to add to the intensity.  The title track has amazing guitar riffing, vocal lines and just a killer death/thrash speed throughout.  The band gets into some doomier territory on this track too.  I cannot forget to mention the cover of Massacre’s ‘Dawn of Eternity’ gives the original a run for its money-no joke!

The reissue has lyrics, liner notes and pictures.  Again these reissues can all wet your appetite before the sixth Thanatos full length album is released this year.  For now do yourself a favor and pick up all their reissues, they are outstanding in sound quality, bonus material and layout.

 

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Written by Frank Rini
April 28th, 2014

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