Formed by the drummer from lesser known Swedish death metal band Afflicted and one of the original, though very brief, guitarists from Morbid and rounded out by Erik Sahlström the vocalist from Maze of Torment and Serpent Obscene, Crucifyre sought to return to the roots of Swedish extreme metal with nods to Slayer, Morbid Angel and other classic 80’s death and thrash influencers. Their sound represented an old school death/thrash band that recused itself from the Carnage and Nihilist era with a preference for Morbid, Mefisto and Obscurity (not the pre-Grave one). They’ve gone one step further into the past on ‘Post Vulcanic Black’ in an effort that sounds closer to ’83 speed metal and NWOBHM in spirit than it does ’87 Sweden. As cool as it sounds, it is an awkward step towards a promising transition.
Crucifyre’s first album ‘Infernal Earthly Divine’ was an average mix of old school ideas that was unique in it’s inherent personality but the songs all felt redundant. I had a visceral reaction to their 2014 follow-up ‘Black Magic Fire’, which I’d agree was overblown at the time. What frustrated me so much about their second record was that they’d made such a point to say they weren’t trendy metal but they were making completely trendy retro-death/thrash without any honest reverence for the genre. It came across like conservative commercialism, like a shop that only sells a doll of their favorite Pope for a hundred years, and they’d lost some of the Slayer-isms that made the first album interesting. For all the flirting they did with thrash ‘n roll on ‘Black Magic Fire’ they’ve gone all in on the Swedish retro-metal trend on ‘Post Vulcanic Black’.
The faint echoes of ‘Haunting the Chapel’ that flow through ‘Post Vulcanic Black’ are the most successful guitar moments on the album and as soon as they shift gears towards a sort of death metal-tinged Venom/NWOBHM style speed metal they lose me a bit. The chorus in the title track is bold, almost snide in it’s self-conscious death rockin’ declarations. The retro-thrashing of “Thrashing With Violence” might have been aiming for classic thrash but the result is something like Entombed‘s ‘Inferno’ if they’d been interested in Merciless riffs at the time. I’m not intending to bash this album, actually, but ‘Post Vulcanic Black’ is such a departure from expectation that it is a surreal pill to swallow. From there we get a very unfocused set of hard rock and metal experiments. The band might be set on resembling old school heavy metal but the result is an album that is a few years late to the Fenriz style tribute to the 80’s underground.
The ultimate example of just how willing to Crucifyre are to try anything on ‘Post Vulcanic Black’ is the song “Copenhagen in the Seventies” which is essentially a tribute to the advent of Mercyful Fate and includes shouts of “King, take the throne!” and I can only speak for myself but it has to be the goofiest Cathedral-style shout-out track I’ve cringed to in years. I’m really conflicted on ‘Post Vulcanic Black’ despite how many times I’ve listened to it. There are genuinely good results here on tracks like the doom metal kick of “Serpentagram” and the absolutely smokin’ NWOBHM anthem “War Chylde”. The powerful 70’s boogie of “Hyper Moralist (Deemed Antichrist)”, “200 Divisions”, and “Mother Superior’s Eyes” are really adept songwriting exercises that just don’t really fit together with the rest of the spin to form a complete album. Crucifyre absolutely deserve praise for doing something that sounds like nothing else right now but, like most death ‘n roll albums, I’m not sure ‘Post Vulcanic Black’ is something I want to keep listening to for years to come.
|Released||February 9, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Crucifyre on Facebook|
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
Death ‘n Roll
Beckoned by the devolution. 2.5/5.0
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