Violent Death Rituals

With being involved in the music scene for so long both as a musician and a writer I still get stoked over the smallest things and am very thankful for some of the bands I have interviewed and reviewed over the years.  I have been fortunate to have reviewed all the Thanatos reissues as well as their last album, in 2014-the monstrous Global Purification.  I also interviewed founding member, vocalist/guitarist Stephan Gebédi years ago.

So why the hell is reviewing their new album, seventh in total, Violent Death Rituals so important for me?  It is because I have followed Thanatos for quite some time and I consider Stephan Gebédi the innovator and founding father of the death metal scene in the Netherlands.  He has been at this since the beginning of the 80’s and following them for so long-well I have the utmost respect for him and his musical work even outside Thanatos, such as Hail of Bullets (RIP).  This album also marks their first for Listenable Records as the band left their previous label, Century Media Records. 9 songs in 41 minutes and if you get the cd you get a bonus track.

Thanatos starts things off with the title track and opening with a monster riff and then over the double bass Stephan laying down some killer vocals.  This is a departure from past opening songs, for them, with the slower approach, rather than a fast opener.  But then the drums start rolling and you can feel the slow burn. The isolated guitar riffs at the 1.30-the proverbial Holy Shit moment as the song gets into their trademark death/thrash beat.  You’ll be headbanging like it’s 1989 all over again.  But then they break into a violent blast beat where the song title is repeated over it.  It’s mauling!!!!  Maybe that’s Paul Baayens doing the killer guitar solo which eventually trails off over a blast and then the song slows down, get’s mid-paced, then picks up the signature beat and then back into a blast right before Stephan lets out a growl.  Damn this is an absolute beast of an album opener.  Holy crap…I need to catch my breath….hold on…..

Since the last album. Thanatos have added some new members-Martin Ooms on drums and Mous Mirer on bass.  Nothing has shifted in the Thanatos sound and Martin-I swear he probably eats drums for breakfast-he puts in a tremendous performance.  “The Silent War” is up next and has some monster blast sections, but the mid-paced moments, at times, have a Hail of Bullets rumbling heaviness that has caused flooding worldwide.  The song varies the pacing with more killer guitar riffs and the some of the start n stop moments at the end of the track are quite pummeling as well as memorable.

“Burn the Books of Hate” has a great opening where Stephan lets out a nice Tom Warrior, circa Celtic Frost 1985, grunt. This is just classic.  The track is slower in nature, with some monster double bass action and Stephan sounds extra pissed off and angry on this album-I am loving it.  Some of the guitar leads have a melodic riffing to them, as well as dipping into a tinge of black metal.  The 3.06 moment brings forth some quicker pacing.  The end has Stephan letting out a Tom Araya like scream and holding it out for a bit.  It really calls to mind Araya’s classic scream at the beginning of “Angel of Death”.

The rest of Violent Death Rituals has a mix of slower and blasting songs and this is the best production Thanatos has achieved to date.  I love the weird and demonic drawn cathedral album cover.  It’s killer and really compliments the monster songs quite well.  Thanatos are not making millions off their albums and would especially like your support now, with this Pandemic causing destruction on all of us and the music scene.  Support Thanatos and please understand this is a definite Rini, Buy or Die recommendation of the highest order.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 26th, 2020


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