RSS Feed

Fear The Priest EP

Ulthar (2014)
Rating: 7/10

UK thrashers Exxxekutioner probably spent longer writing up their band logo than actually recording this new EP. This is the first recording from this bunch of Salford lads, who probably spend much of their time wishing it was 1986 all over again.

What we get here is six tracks wrapped up in a snotty, amateurish sleeve and a sound that needs more than just a bit of tweaking to iron out its creases. Even so, Exxxekutioner are the sort of upstarts one would have wanted to have found on a crusty old demo cassette back in the 80s, such is the splendour of this spotty lump of thrash metal.

Okay, so the live shows leave a lot to be desired with vocalist Cliff Edge (great name!) acting like a little boy lost amidst the tirade of venomous riffs, but his snarling, hissing vocals come across far better on this release which so desperately attempts to conjure the blackest days of old, classic Venom, Sodom et al while nodding with bloodthirsty aplomb to the current crop of devilish black thrashers such as Aura Noir.

Musically, it’s a rusty hell-fest that races by at the speed of light / sound – the cauldron stirred by the vicious clanks of guitarist Mike Woods, whose despicable and slightly out of tune fevers are perfect fodder for the equally soiled bass clangs of Ryan Coucill. The trio is backed by a horrendous wall of sound that just about passes for a drummer in the form of Liam Waring, who is typical of that sort of flailing entity produced in the early 80s and which countless black metal bands feel the need to emulate. Not quite lo-fi but more low-budget as Exxxekutioner ramble through ‘March To Death’ with the experience of a toddler behind the wheel, and yet at times it makes for quite an entertaining cacophony.

‘B.I.B’ continues where ‘March To Death’ leaves off, only the riff differs but as the drums hurtle then plod and then hurtle then plod again and Edge works his tragic magic beneath the waves of blackness, I’m left wondering what the neighbours thought as these guys puked out such a disgusting, punked-up feast of angst-filled fun in their grandma’s garage. And it’s because of this sense of naivety that I have to give this album the thumbs up, because by that time ‘Fear The Priest’ has taken off with more nods to the likes of Venom, Kreator, Destruction and just about every other bestial act since then.

The rest of the tracks on offer aren’t too bad, either. ‘Divine Siren’ pierces the eardrums in the unholiest black metal fashion – just a shame that as the band plunges into another routine gallop, the tracks tend to melt into one another and to be sealed with a rusty coating. ‘Maniac Asylum’ is just as frantic as the last, if not more so. A little variety would go a long way in Exxxekutioner’s quest for insanity and with ‘Black Witchery’ refusing to buckle the trend, Salford’s satanic finest finally grinds to a halt somewhere near the gates of hell – only to be told they are too young to gain entry.

But all jokes aside, Fear The Priest is a primitive racket and no wonder when one considers it was all recorded in one take. And what we must remember is that most of the world’s greatest acts started out as youngsters keen to show their devotion to Satan. In this case it’s not the priest we should be worrying about but a clan of northern rockers with an eye for the dark and despicable, and that with a few lumps of advice and production tweaks could well be on their way to recording a black metal masterpiece.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories