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Out To Die

Indie Recordings (2012)
Rating: 8/10

If like me you’re a huge fan of old 80s thrash bands like Destruction, Kreator, Sodom, early Voivod, Possessed and of course Venom, then it’s vital you get your grubby paws on anything released by Aura Noir. Alongside Darkthrone, and a few other acts, Norway’s Aura Noir is keeping the true metal flame burning.

Thrash metal is coming back in a big way, but sadly too many bands are attempting to recreate the 80s Bay Area crunch; which seems pointless, because I’d just rather listen to the originals. But with Aura Noir we’re getting that old spiky punkoid Euro thrash feel combined with a cold steel black metal attitude.

Out To Die, like a lot of early thrash albums, only clocks in at just over 30 minutes, but what it offers in attitude, riffs and downright evil sure as hell makes up for that. The delightfully named Blasphemer, Aggressor and Apollyon have their bullet belts and studded wristbands at the ready, and once you’ve been dragged into this grim dungeon of cavernous riffs and harsh vocals, there’s no coming back.

Some of us have worn out our vinyl copies of old Bathory and Celtic Frost, but fear no more, Aura Noir provide similar landscapes of death and destruction, a clattering, clanking ball and chain of an album that will leave you spitting out rust until kingdom come.

Whether it’s the Venom-style pounding of ‘The Grin From The Gallows’ – in which Apollyon gurgles, “I am the blazing heart of the canyon”, over a dirty, fuzzy and festering doom riff – or the rattling thrash of ‘Witheld’ – a furious black ’n’ roll nightmare of a cut – one thing is or certain, Aura Noir are as heavy metal as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest etc. have ever been, if not more, as they wear their influences on their sleeve; literally, in the form of those sewn on patches.

Of course, a track like ‘Trenches’, with its hyper guitars and demonic drums, isn’t going to appeal to your average heavy metal maniac, but for those of you who want to find out more about metal’s darker history, then it’s bands like Aura Noir who will point the way, albeit with gnarled finger!

‘Priest’s Hellish Fiend’ gives a nod to Metallica, circa Kill ’Em All (1983), but vocally it’s a possessed Lemmy. The bruising ‘Abaddon’ is an out-and-out thrash classic, while the ugly title track rips the flesh from the face with its unholy drum sound.

There are those who may argue that what Aura Noir, and particularly Darkthrone, are doing now is nothing new, and that’s a fair point, but all those headbangers who grew up on an unhealthy dose of black thrash, then Aura Noir comes as a welcome force to be reckoned with. After Out To Die you’ll be reaching for the holy water. Eight tracks of vile bile for the brave.

Neil Arnold

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