Suicidal Angels - Sanctify The Darkness (Nuclear Blast/Riot)

Sun, sea, sand and sacrilege; welcome to the land of Suicidal Angels.
Release Date: 
20 Nov 2009 - 10:30am

I don't know what it is about Greece that makes the country produce such pissed of bands. Scandanavia is understandable; there's a whole lot of night and a shit load of cold. But Greece is a warm country, great food, beautiful beaches, regular smashing of crockery - and Suicidal Angels. Their second full length album, Sanctify The Darkness is a pure and simple thrash album. At least that's how it seems upon first listen. It's the second, third, fourth listen that you start to realise how good an album this actually is.

Opening track Bloodthirsty is a full on assault of bird-sex-fast guitar strumming from vocalist/guitarist Nick and six-stringer Panos, and solid drum work from Orfeas. The drumming is anything but imaginitive on Sanctify The Darkness and initially, this is a bit of a thumbs down. But as you uncover more and more within each song, the single instruments take a back seat and the entire sound is what you hear. However, for the first time in many moons, the standout factor in this, a thrash metal album, is the vocals and lyrics.

Our man Nick has a phenomenally strong Greek accent, ocasionally using his mother tongue to sing, and there's more than a passing resemblance to the metal god that is Max Cavalera - I know he's Brazilian but I'm talking accents, people. Not only does this inflection make the vocal so compelling, it's the delivery that really draws you in. In an almost whispering voice, the words are pitched to us at sometimes speaking, somtimes breakneck pace.

Which brings me onto the lyrics themselves. As we've established, Greece is a lovely place but there's clearly some beef. Perhaps the fact that 81% of the country believe in God (in a 'dude with beard, made the world, flooded it, dropped frogs on Egypt' sense) plays a major part in the conception of bands such as Suicidal Angels and fellow countrymen Rotting Christ. Are they genuinely pissed off with coming from such a religious country, or are they just trying to fuck with people?

There's no doubt of the passion in songs such as Inquisition, which includes lyrics such as 'cry you bastard kneel before us... we'll rape your will, we'll own your soul, we are the men of God'. Combine this to song titles such as Lies, No More Than Illusion, Atheist, and the frankly blistering Beyond The Laws Of Church and put it this way; Aunty Ethel isn't going to put this CD on when the vicar comes round for tea and scones.

There is absolutely no let-up for the duration of Sanctify The Darkness. Not only are you bombarded by pure, pummelling thrash, but you also get a pretty fucking eloquent criticism of organised religion. Although this is by no means a unique concept, it's certainly a unique feeling to be banging your head off a table and throwing the horns whilst Googling 'Greek Orthodoxy religious beliefs'.

Suicidal Angels haven't made an an evil album, but it's a bold 'fuck you' to the beliefs of a large percentage of their countrymen. And frankly, you can't get more metal than that.

Suicidal Angels' Sanctify The Darkness is out on November 20th on Nuclear Blast/Riot