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Unstoppable Power

High Roller (2017)
Rating: 9/10

Not to be confused with the Columbian doomy deathsters Cóndor, this particular Condor is from Norway and dabbles in what can best be described as a black thrash attack. Unstoppable Power is the follow-up to 2013’s self-titled debut and it’s an album I highly recommend.

You can’t ever go wrong with Norwegian extreme metal. For decades now the country has served up some real tasty bands and Condor are no exception, even if what they churn out is nothing new. From the opening frothing of ‘Embraced By Evil’ you know what you’re letting yourself in for; a blistering, rusty hellish festering cauldron of nasty, sniping, vicious thrash that harkens back to the 80s, with flailing solos punctuating oily riffs and speeding drums, fronted by a sickening vocal rasp from a chap who likes to call himself Chris Sacrifice.

Fans of Aura Noir and the likes will no doubt indulge themselves in this despicable, lo-fi outing where drummer Obskurvind hammers away until his black heart is content; the trio burping up a fearsome amalgamation of vintage Sodom, Destruction, Possessed and Bathory, which becomes entwined with what has become that now classic contemporary black thrash assault.

All the tracks on offer, from the blitzkrieg of ‘Riders Of Violence’ to the downright nasty ‘Horrifier’, all follow that same hellish, clanking mould. Chris Sacrifice’s hoarse, rancid emissions are vile secretions which attempt to keep up with the rest of the disharmony, and as each chapter passes like some blistering, bickering howl of frost-bitten wind I’m reminded as to why I love this reckless sort of black speed metal.

With 2017 already offering up the likes of Hellripper, and the up and coming Bonehunter, I just can’t help but feel excited about this particular genre. Condor’s no frills acts of malice are infectious to the core, as the flailing ‘Chained Victims’ and aptly titled ‘You Can’t Escape The Fire’ enter the fray; skeletal, scathing pastings that rely on occasional bewitching riffage, but which for the most part act as hideous, pacey orgies of rattling guitar chords, stormy drum seizures and hasty bass pummels. Any band that can recreate an 80s feel of black, evil reckoning is fine by me; Condor merely interested in crafting out a wild network of thorny rhythms, whereby Chris Sacrifice can puke out his holocaustic summoning.

The brilliant title track warns of “A shapeless evil aiming for total destruction”, and to “Prepare for his coming… and a view of disgust”, while the unstable ‘Malevolent Curse’ is sure to crack a few skulls in the pits and is delivered like a hyper speed Possessed; the solos alone are sure to scorch the ears.

Unstoppable Power is probably the most apt album title of the year; a moniker used to prepare us for a true, yet impure tour de force of a record, and one which heaves malevolence, sighs with vehemence and swaggers with the snake hips of Satan. It’s fast, it’s furious and it hurts like Hell.

Neil Arnold

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