The pure exhilaration of black metal must be felt and not just listened to.  You should be able to feel the vocals seethe into your being, drums must be freight-train fast, guitars razor sharp.  So often, and from the beginning, production was an afterthought for this genre of metal,  so much so that it was considered blasphemy to even try to produce a modern sounding black metal record. New York City’s Black Anvil are among the new guard of this genre, and they bring forth the raw power of Watain mixed with the melody of Skeletonwitch. Vocalist/bassist Paul Delaney delivers an evil ooze and hiss to in his vocals that rival any old school Mayhem or Marduk.  But that isn’t all. Black Anvil sacrifice elements of thrash, hardcore, and even sludge on the alter of Hail Death, their third album. They meld these genres seamlessly, and it makes for an interesting listen.

“Still Reborn” opens the album up with an ominous acoustic intro before launching into a thrashy riff and a magical crescendo of gang vocals and punishing drums. “Redemption Through Blood” emanates a stronger black metal feel reminiscent of Watain. Harnessing the power of Delaney’s vocals, complete with a galloping rhythm, this is one of the strongest songs here.  “Eventide,” the album’s first single, is an all-out feast for the ears, and it demonstrates that dummer Raeph Glicken is a beast. “Seven Stars Unseen” is a bit more melancholy with a Triptykon vibe; it is slow and chugging, but no less brutal.  “Until the End,” my favorite here, brings the best of Black Anvil with evil riffs that brutally build to a massive ear orgasm.

Black Anvil have trumped their two previous releases with Hail Death, and they have done it in spades.  This album stands among my favorites released so far this year.

Hail Death is out now on Relapse Records.

Rating: 5/5 Stars