Not Above Evil - 'The Transcendental Signified' (self released) 4/5
Now this is pretty good, NAE take their musical cues from a number of diverse influences. There are large slices of Behemoth and Bathory style black metal in their sound, a fair bit of old school Slayer type thrash as well, and then, just to take the edge off the bang and bludgeon there are bits of Lamb Of God and Mastodon-U-Like southern metal thrown in the mix as well. The result is most pleasing to the ear and makes for a far more complete and rounded sound than on the preceding Deification opus. It's almost as if NAE have come of age musically.
All the extremely brutal slash smash and slay of the proceeding album is here in abundance. Tracks like the opener Crossroads crawl from the speakers dripping menace and metallic mindfuckisms like and H.P. Lovecraft novel made sonic reality. Yet where as Deification tended to steam roller along laying waste to all its path, this album is more controlled, more considered and is all the better for it. We get tracks like Nexus where raw speed is sacrificed in the name of darkly controlled riffage and almost Machine Head style song structures and Amon Amarth type epic storytelling.
Just to select a few more highlights; we have Death and Transformation, one of the best thrash-outs I've heard since Onslaughts seminal album The Force; Legion with its Behemoth referenced attack and drive and my fave cut on offer here, the epic closer of The Duel, a classic in the making that build from a deceptively sweet and mellow introductory riff into a multi-sectioned meisterwerk that showcases exactly how good a band NAE really are.
Add in the fact that every member of this band delivers the goods in playing their parts to almost perfection and the production, which the band did themselves, is spot on, and you have an album that will do NAE's grow reputation no harm at all and will only add to their status as one of the UK's most promising up and coming metal acts.
In short - a damn fine album from a band to watch
For fans of... Lamb Of God, Elimination, Anterior, Behemoth, Slayer etc....