Although each of Communion’s first two full-lengths were created back to back under nearly identical conditions they are generally two very different experiences in terms of sound, sub-genre subtleties, and overall songwriting. Their debut ‘At The Announcement’ was recorded as a four piece band and felt like a classic example of bestial black metal and speed metal colliding in glorious lo-fi unison. ‘The Communion’ is instead a purposefully streamlined step forward onto the world’s stage of underground thrashing black metal. That isn’t to say they’ve lost the spirit of their old masters, though, as this album exemplifies the Sodom-ized “witching metal” power-trio sound this band already worshiped. What they’ve lose in terms of sheer guitar noise on ‘The Communion’ they’ve gained in terms of Spirit of Death‘s (guitar/bass/vocals) grand vision for the band. The result is an album even more focused on the power of the riff.
The first thing you’ll notice is an overhauled guitar sound that is no longer chased by sinister reverb. The heightened thrash metal clarity is accentuated by the aforementioned reduction in the noisome overall production found on ‘At The Announcement’. With the previous album so incredibly fresh in my mind it was a surprise to hear the album’s sound closer to their EPs and demos of the past. In fact all of the songs on this album are reworked or simply re-recorded tracks from demos and EPs since 2011. I already knew these songs well but they’re give a new lease on life on ‘The Communion’ without resembling a compilation.
If ‘At The Announcement’ resembled Panic, Pentagram, and Sadism demos then ‘The Communion’ wreaks havoc in the spirit of Slayer‘s ‘Hell Awaits’ and the early days of Sodom with ashen remnants of thier classic South American thrash influences still riding high. The good ole days of the 30 minute extreme metal album live on in this band with sharp tributes to their masters like Dark Angel-esque “Witching Thrust” and the ‘Persecution Mania’ feel of “Bloody Butcher” yet the whole affair isn’t pure nods to ancient ones. The wailing guitar hysterics of Mortem highlight several tracks and the raw cosmically-riffing fury of Inquisition is likewise tempered into their speed metal attack on the interlude/intro tracks throughout. Nods to the still surviving masters of darkness are all a bit of a surprise considering thier otherwise sheer orthodoxy on the previous album but ‘The Communion’ is doubly powerful because of the inspired guitar work.
I have no drought of blackened speed metal to listen to these days and yet I found myself constantly not wanting to move beyond Communion‘s work. There is an exciting and unpredictable old school darkness to their ritual occult blackened thrash attack that creates more of a storm than most all of their contemporaries. Though I think it would normally overwhelm me to have two full albums to absorb at once I think they’re such different statements in terms of production sound and guitar work that catching up with their songs, new and old, has been a blast. All fans of old school thrash metal, satanic speed metal, and black/thrash alike should know this album, as well as ‘At The Announcement’, by the end of 2018.
|Released||January 26, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Communion on Facebook|
Insight into the infinite. 4.25/5.0
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