Burninating the countryside
dB Rating: 8/10
Release Date: February 26th, 2016
Label: Season of Mist
It can be pretty nervewracking when a veteran band returns to the scene after seven years of radio silence—even if they have a consistent history of skull-crushery, there’s always a chance we’ll have another Illud Divin-whatever-the-fuck on our hands. Luckily, any apprehension about Wildfire’s validity is smashed to pieces a mere 10 seconds into its opening track, “Traitor,” when an Araya-esque banshee wail signals what we’ve all been hoping for: Deströyer 666 are back and quite ready to fucking annihilate you.
With yet another revamped lineup that sees venerable statesman K.K. Warslut join forces with guitarist/vocalist Roland Cohen (Grave Miasma, Cruciamentum) and powerhouse drummer Per Karlsson (In Aeternum, Nominon), D666’s fifth LP is 40 minutes of unrelenting black/death/thrash that takes the filthy blueprints of classics like Phoenix Rising and Cold Steel…for an Iron Age and injects just enough novelty to keep things compelling. Most noteworthy is the lads’ newfound penchant for anthemic vocals, which instantly turn songs like “Hounds at Ya Back,” “White Line Fever” and “Live and Burn” into battle-ready behemoths whose primary objectives are to incite the world’s biggest circle pit sing-along.
Wildfire also does a nice job of playing with dynamics—“Hymn to Dionysus” begins life as a cavernous dirge before launching into D666’s signature brand of blistering mayhem, and majestic closer “Tamam Shud” features some seriously epic guitar work that would sound right at home on the next Enslaved record. Here’s to hoping they finally sandblasted that seven-year itch into oblivion.
— Matt Solis
Review originally printed in the April 2016 issue.