Stormbane – Eldritch Devotion (2018) REVIEW

These Australian bestial death/black thrashers were at the precipice of something amazing back in 2012 with their black/thrash sound a la Deströyer 666 and it seemed like 2014 would be their year to drop a big Dagon-sized set of balls into the arena. For whatever reason they all fucked off for four years and sat on ‘Eldritch Devotion’ until last month. It’s a shame these guys didn’t keep going with this sound because as muddy as it’s old school death metal production is there are some insanely cool death/thrash riffs on the thing. Even if they couldn’t agree on a direction for the band or whatever, whoever arranged this album and wrote all those riffs deserves a pat on the ass for a job well done.

‘Eldritch Devotion’ kicks off with a classic Destruction style intro riff and burns the church down from there with nods to classic Sepultura, Sodom and an ingrained knack for giving the extreme metal treatment to classic thrash metal. That thrashing goes beyond what bands like Aura Noir or Desaster do with black/thrash and instead resembles something closer to the wailing death/thrash of Chilean band Unholy Force, or newer stuff from Mortem. The first couple of tracks that open the album roll out big, sweaty old school death metal riffs that recall the best moments of Merciless‘ self-titled 2003 album but the album eventually settles into more of a Bolt Thrower driven death metal riff fest. “Deathless” in particular just reeks of demo-era Dissection or Unanimated adding a few really solid semi-melodic moments amidst the thrash. At some point you’re gonna tell me to fuck off because I’m describing early Deströyer 666 but I want to emphasize that the style here is far closer to death/thrash than the blackened thrash metal Australians are well known for.

The drummer is kind of amazing despite his sound being muddied by the production. His grasp of just how to drive the chaos of high speed thrash riffing in interesting ways is notable. It is rare to find a death/thrash drummer that can switch it up just enough to not become an annoying blast in the ears and most of the highest-rated death metal albums suffer from it. The best riffs on the album happen in “Spectral Dissent” where that classic thrashing Bolt Thrower feeling kicks in a bit, as well as the ultimate riff attack that is “The Cold Flame”. I wouldn’t say the rest of the album doesn’t stack up but several songs aren’t nearly as memorable. Highly recommended if you’re up for 35 minutes of pure death/thrash metal guitar attack a la old Protector, Degial, or  Unholy Force.


Artist Stormbane
Type Album
Released January 12, 2018
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Relinquish your life. 3.25/5.0


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