Track Premiere: Black Anvil – ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’

With their new EP Miles, New York black thrashers Black Anvil sought a more melodic angle. Written, performed and recorded as a tribute to late The Devil’s Blood guitarist/vocalist Selim Lemouchi, who died in 2014, Miles retains the barely-restrained insanity of Black Anvil’s previous releases while also embracing more melody and vulnerable emotion.

Album opener “Iron Sharpens Iron,” which Decibel is streaming below, tears straight out of the gate with a vengeance, throwing the listener straight into thrash metal insanity. Icy black metal melodies permeate the first half of the song before becoming the focus of its second part, combining mournful singing with the discordant notes. Bassist/vocalist Paul Delaney explains that the EP came together over a period of years, with new songs and tributes added slowly.

“We recorded the track ‘Miles’ in tribute to Selim Lemouchi after his passing,” Delaney explains. “He was a friend of the band’s.

“Our initial intention was to have Farida [Lemouchi, The Devil’s Blood vocalist] sing on it. She was open to it, but timing wasn’t of the essence. But it was written with her in mind. With them in mind. It’s a bit of a hauntingly melodic song. Very different for us as well, but we’ve never cared about doing what we’re supposed to do. We finally got around to recording it, as well as a Mercyful Fate cover with Raeph (drums) on lead vocals.

“At the time, As Was was a priority, so we put this on the back burner. There was talk with some people about releasing an EP but, again, our focus and timing led to things not materializing until recently.

“STB Records is run by someone we consider a brother. For over 20 years, Steve Macioci has been very close to us. His label is quite different aesthetically, he’s focusing on a lot of doom stuff. But, our connection is a very strong one. The second he expressed interest, there was no question it had to be with him, as this is purely a passion project.

“His releases are pure quality and that’s what we wanted for this. We rounded it out with 2 more songs. An original, inspired by him, entitled ‘Iron Sharpens Iron,’ as well as a cover of The Devils Blood’s ‘Everlasting Saturnalia.’ This song in particular is special to myself, and we managed to put a slightly different twist on it.

“It’s quite an eclectic release. ‘Miles’ was written in memory of Selim. ‘Everlasting Saturnalia’ was performed in tribute to The Devil’s Blood. Selim was a friend, an inspiration. The band is a very important one to me from the second I heard the demo. The first person I was in contact with was the drummer, Sander Van Baalen. The common bond was hardcore as we knew each other’s bands, and had many friends in common. A bit of a small world. Selim happened to be at the first show we (Kill Your Idols) played in Holland in the 90s, And was also a huge fan of the band, as we discussed later down the road. We got to tour together when he was filling in for Watain. We also had a tour with TDB lined up that never came to be as the band broke up. I’m in contact with Sander quite often, from the beginning, he’s someone I felt a really strong connection with, and it just added to that, he was a part of this band that really impacted me in such a way I could never put into words. I’m very fortunate for his friendship to this day.

“Everything about this release is important to us, from the motivation behind it, to the person putting it out, to the people responsible for the art. It involves people we love.”

Miles is out on March 4, but you can listen to “Iron Sharpens Iron” now.