“Next song is called MASS HIPPI-NOSES,” proclaimed Max Cavalera on one of my early VHS tapes, featuring a live show from mighty Sepultura. Around that period in their careers they were all about intensity, neck breaking tempo changes and above all – the unstoppable groove summoned forth in the rehearsal dungeons of 1980’s Brazil. Crude, ceaseless beating and constant torture of neck muscles. Great stuff.
The reason why memories like these come flooding back good 25 years later, is the latest release of Norwegian thrashers Inculter. It is called Fatal Visions and it is a mosher. They did set a storm warning with their debut album Persisting Devolution (2015), full of denim-jacketed, highly energetic Darkthronish thrash metal, but Fatal Visions is still a surprise of a positive kind. In all of its unpolished and youthful rampage Persisting Devolution might have been a Kill ‘Em All of a glacier kind, but with the sophomore release Inculter certainly have unleashed their Ride the Lightning. And more.
Everything, and by this I mean EVERYTHING, has been updated to better. The musicianship is fantastic, sound is less trebly and more powerful, vocals have new commanding intensity to them and the tunes… Man, those tunes have been stripped of all the extra that does not serve the greater overall purpose. A crucial couple of minutes shorter than the debut, Fatal Visions is a intense listening experience. Most of the times fast, or extremely fast buzzsaw blade guitars give or ask no mercy and when not going over the speed limit (which is often), Inculter launch into those remarkable half-tempo mosh pit pleasers.
Riffs to break your neck with. There are some carefully planted melodies too, but they are not rubbed to listeners face constantly like on couple of latest Kreator releases, for example. Half time through the album a slower intro passage of Endtime Winds (You can smell them too, huh?) brings a much welcomed pause to breathtaking battery, before the record launches into final assault of the remaining half. As the final track Through the Relic Gates rolls over the remnants of the poor listener (say Hell Awaits, boys and girls!), one is left reminded how great a scene thrash metal at its best can be.
Basically, each and every one of the tracks on Fatal Visions is a highlight on its own, but as this is an album review, let us drop some examples too. The opening track Open the Tombs is pure Schitzophrenia/Beneath the Remains mastery, Impending Doom bring in some occasional nods towards black metal riffs and a wider set of dynamics in the process, Final Darkness is… well, final darkness and title track Fatal Visions deliver the crunchiest tempo-changes of the year. The riffs are unapologetic and effective throughout, to a point it is hard to pick up a single example as there are so many highlights included.
It’s been quite some time as I have heard thrash metal this potent and unstoppable. After a quick chronological rewind, had to go back at least to days of Kreator’s Enemy of God, or even further to times when The Haunted released their mighty Made Me Do It album in 2000. Hell, whatever the case, this is the thrash metal album of decade in my books and a welcomed reminder of the greatness of this particular genre. This is not the somewhat diluted and definitely overtly polite neo-thrashing of late, but a real deal. Not maybe the most original stuff in the world, as their heroes are definitely heard on Fatal Visions, but damn well executed. Welcome back thrash metal. You have been missed.