What's dirty, black and thrashes like a maniac? That would be the new album Out To Die by black metal agitators, Aura Noir. Out To Die is actually the bands fifth full-length album, and is a nice aggressive piece of filth. For those who like their metal black, but may not be familiar with the band, one acknowledgement of the line up should settle any hesitations, with both Apollyon (Dodheimsgard/Gorgoroth etc) and Carl-Michael Eide a.k.a. Aggressor (Ved Buens Ende/Ulver/Virus) being joined once again by Blasphemer (Mayhem). We are indeed lucky that we even have the hugely talented Eide back in the fold, having survived a fall seven years ago that left him paralysed from the ankles down. His drumming days may be behind him, but thankfully for him - and us - he is just as adroit a guitar player as he is a drummer, as evidenced here.
Out To Die is not an album that is out to break new ground, but then again, we shouldn't really expect it to. After all, Apollyon and Aggressor did start Aura Noir, more or less, as a protest against what was then - and still is - an over saturated market of keyboard fronted black metal bands. And so, it's for this reason, that we get eight tracks of pure blackened thrash. The guitars hold a slight malevolence to them, and the drumming of Apollyon, who has also diversified in the use of both guitars and drums, drags along at a nice dirge-like pace.
OTD is a throwback to the days of Sodom, Venom and Celtic Frost, when albums didn't have such pristine productions, and it was all about the music, rough and raw as it may have been. Young bands like Nekromantheon may be shining a new light amongst the old school, but bands like Aura Noir, and Out To Die, should not be overlooked. Oh, and The Grin From The Gallows gets our vote for song title of the year.