Seraphim Slaughter – Scum Terror

I’m pretty sure I could write this review based on the cover art alone, without ever bothering to listen to the music. I think the writing on the inside of the spine says it best: ‘Fun songs about… Murder – AIDS – Sex – Rape – Terror – Alcohol – Satan’. You get the picture.

Seraphim Slaughter plays black/thrash metal with what I would say is an anarchist punk attitude, but I think they would interpret that as me calling them hippies and would give me AIDS in retaliation. I think they would appreciate being called the GG Allin of black metal, though. The spine-writing is a pretty accurate depiction of the subject matter: AIDS (a peculiar fondness for it), rape, death, murder, suicide, and all the things that would make Tipper Gore spin in her (hopefully upcoming) grave. I generally don’t talk about the lyrical themes of the music I review too much, but here it’s pretty inextricably tied to the music: filthy, raw, uncompromising, and essentially the auditory embodiment of beating a hardcore dancer to death with his mother’s severed leg. I don’t know about you, but that’s the new sound I’ve been talking about!

A good description would be a less rocky, fast, fiercer form of newer Darkthrone. Riffing is simple buzzsaw thrash chords and sometimes tremolo, and they’re damn fine riffs, absolutely oldschool and very catchy and rhythmic. Drumming is very punky, with lots of oldschool punk/thrash beats and ride cymbal abuse, with an overall delivery not unlike early Darkthrone. Vocals are awesomely vicious and shrieked about as fiercely as possible, and with lyrics like ‘Four shadow fathers/Beckon the Satan’s call/Mirror, mirror on the wall/I’m the rawest of them all’, they just get a thousand times better. You could almost call this a more collected and well-played version of the old South American black/thrash acts, with the same reckless delivery and obsession with sex, violence, and Satan.

I really like the production here, with the fuzzy guitars and trashy drum sound and slight bit of tape hiss. It sounds very authentically oldschool, like it really came out of the early ’90s. It’s very simple music, and the most complex parts are just a bit of melodic riffing ala Mayhem on the title track, and the rest of it is just power chord thrashing all the way. It really doesn’t need anything more. No one is going to buy a CD called ‘Scum Terror’ expecting sweep picking and arpeggios galore. It’s really good at what it does, which is being violent and antisocial all the way. It’s the sort of thing I can listen to over and over without getting tired of it just because the songwriting is so solid all the way through. It’s really good stuff, and a cut above most of the albums that are released in this style.

If you’re into the oldschool style of black/thrash but are turned off by the inherent sloppiness and chaos of many of those releases, this is essentially the perfect album for you. It’s a lot more collected than usual without sacrificing the ferocity and classic songwriting that makes that music so memorable. Buy it so you can tell everyone ‘Black’s not dead!’. Or maybe dying was the goal from the very beginning.

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~ by noktorn on October 1, 2007.

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