A dark and looming hunger grew within myself as a pre-teen listening to ‘Altars of Madness’ on cassette. The need for a ‘repeat’ button was bad enough but that would soon be quenched by the purchase of a cheap CD player. No, the real inner menace came from wanting to play the guitar like that. The playfulness of the ultimate evil coming out of my speakers seemed to naturally activate my young spine into fits of head bobbing which soon lead to headbanging in the garage and from air guitar to the purchase of a real one. Fast forward about 4-5 years and I was smoking weed in that very same garage trying to play songs from ‘Seven Churches’, ‘Leprosy’ and ‘Altars of Madness’ with very mild success. Of course other music had that effect on me previous but generally for its attainability rather than the actual feeling of playing it. The Brunelle/Azagthoth method, along with the hollow clang of ‘Altars of Madness’ original drum sound, remains the most motivating factor in my exploration of all things death metal. So, with some greater understanding of that personal bias my predisposition towards projects that recreate that feeling or sound it should come as no surprise that the debut EP from Baneful Storm, ‘Invocations’, was instantly energizing for my own tastes.
Yeah, no doubt you’ll get to the third track on this thing and start to feel like the riffs are way ‘on the nose’ in terms of resembling ‘Altars of Madness’ but that is more or less the point of the damn thing. Baneful Storm is Jolyon Dagon, a young man from Paris, France who loves that particular album so much he’s gone as far as covering the full record (in succession) on his YouTube channel along with songs from Coroner, Slayer, and Pestilence. ‘Invocations’ aims for and achieves the goal of late 80’s death/thrash metal with some additional smaller nods to early Deicide. He captures that essence in pretty good form though I am not sure if the drums aren’t just programmed whenever I really crank the volume. Nonetheless Dagon‘s study of ‘Altars of Madness’/’Abominations of Desolation’ era Morbid Angel is immaculate and inspired.
Of course this kind of thing has been done before and it will hopefully translate into a full band or at least use studio musicians on a full-length. The love of thrash metal really shines through just as much here and I’d be thrilled to hear Dagon‘s love of bands like Coroner and Possessed shine alongside the full-bore “Angel of Disease” styled attack of ‘Invocations’. Highly recommended if you share any of the same enthusiasm for early Morbid Angel, demo era Deicide, and pre-’94 Nocturnus. For preview I’d start with the remarkable groove of “Thushazotho” and the all-too-familiarity of “Damned in Fire”.
The priest will bleed. 3.75/5.0
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