STRESS ANGEL – Bursting Church (2021)REVIEW

As we mentally stack the remains of one thousand unnamed youth’s corpses in tally of yet another horrifying massacre directly attributable to Christianity the sectarian violence and institutional corruption their cult has long wrought upon human civilization once again reveals the sadly age-auld truth: The Christian faith does more harm than good to human beings. All social welfare programs that are instituted within their cult are too deeply corrupt to justify, they represent a volatile, undeservedly moralistic attitude spread as remote-controlled manifest destiny which presents itself as tax upon societies and the well-being of whomever they’re victimizing and, too often under the guise of an all-too-obviate brainwashed persecution complex — A hundred corpses for every clergyman, one thousand torturous and horrified deaths for every house of diabolic re-education, I have to admit the true anti-social deviant and nihilist might do well to embrace and tout Christianity as the savory destruction of not only humanity but also the key driver of our very extinction via this enforced majority of ignorance. There is no greater objectively identified and quantifiable ever-present evil among men than this sickness the cross’ obsession, this “thought” on Christ and because of this, more than their churches ought burst with the fires of ancestral justice. Their houses of education, the security of no taxation, and exposure of institutions that’ve buried or facilitated their crimes all must be levelled, razed and plowed. I would present, as a facilitative work order, an offering of Stress Angel as the savagely ancient blackened death/thrash metal plow to be used upon deconsecrated soil, the finishing touch to grind deep this devastation of all Christian misanthropy reviled via ‘Bursting Church‘, their debut full-length album which arrives fast, loose and engorged with blasphemic enmity here in year I of our sickly, fearful new age of shriveling devolution.

Hailing from Brooklyn, New York and cutting a serious and substantial self-titled demo tape (‘Stress Angel‘, 2020) last year, this duo arrives from within the internalized tension-demons of guitarist/fx commander Nicolai Orifice alongside Barrow Wight and Natur drummer Manny Sores whom goes by a different alias per project, in this case Mr. Sores provides downward-echoing barking madness in addition to his Reifert n’ early Merciless driven battery. The style here is aesthetically and compositionally pure 80’s death metal with the instinctually lugubrious affect of first wave black metal in hand, they aren’t exactly Slaughter Lord raw nor are they hounding a Mortuary Drape level of obscuritas but they are surely blackened in an ancient sense and won’t fit cleanly into the sort of traditional death/thrash metal mention without some reasonable “blackened” caveat or modern split equivalency. You might hear a thickly echoing stomp-assed black/thrash anthem in opener “Flaming Kingdom” but also several dips into simple and thumping classic death metal rhythms. This ensures we’re not just getting an third generation post-Aura Noir feedback loop a la Condor or Audiopain clone but also a death/thrash metal record’s level of riffing that is likely to prick the ears of extreme or “evil” thrash metal lovers first and foremost. Put on the title track (“Bursting Church”) here with its echoing shouts (a la Paul Speckmann on Death Strike‘s ‘Fuckin’ Death’) and wait for the not so subtle blackened Celtic Frost grooves to bump in; As the tracks keep rolling into this mix of severe riff-bolstered energy and mean heavy metal grooves it should soak into skull that the main appeal of ‘Bursting Church’ is this exact modulation between the influences preceding and including early black/death metal while presenting a viable result fit for the late 80’s extreme thrash standard.

Much of the album is spent refining what was legitimately demoed on their first tape, the only major difference here on these versions manifests primarily as a more practiced meter and an intensified sense of attack which arrives with improved precision. This vital attack of their riffs hits a strong but never fully panicked black/thrash metal standard and largely because the composer’s interest in 80’s heavy metal zeitgeist shines within the slower portions of each song; My favorite examples begin to arrive around “Starving in a Closet” and “Life Alert” which may appear to be similarly written but the former was clearly earlier and the latter built upon a similar stylistic thread. This is consistent throughout the album as the pieces developed beyond the refinement of the set of ‘Stress Angel’ tracks generally aim to balance the first impression of the album with a classic death metal thread and this means those eldest pieces receive small but important upgrades, such as the refined surrealistic doom break in “Angel of Stress”, one of the best pieces on the full listen for my own taste.

Doubling the material to ~42 minutes works because Stress Angel‘s original dynamic was solid to begin with and the album inarguably pushes equal parts black-thrashing energy and traditional death metal horror but, for some listeners leaning to either side more heavily the oeuvre may not be refined or complexly lain enough to impress outright. Otherwise there is no complex lyrical message, no sprawling narrative concept (that I know of) to affirm nerds like me, just a ripping and classics-minded blasphemic extreme metal record meeting a high standard of detailed and sinister nonchalance. As such, the appeal is simple and the point is made on my part. A high recommendation.

Bursts all churches. (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
Info:
ARTIST:STRESS ANGEL
TITLE:Bursting Church
TYPE:LP
LABEL(S):Dying Victims Productions [CD]
Stygian Black Hand [LP]
RELEASE DATE:July 2nd, 2021 [LP]
July 30th, 2021 [CD]
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Blackened Death/Thrash Metal,
Black/Thrash Metal

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