Aura Noir - Out To Die
The trio of terror, one of Norway's longest-running metal projects, Aura Noir were long considered an underground phenomenon but have, in the past several years, grown more and more in the public eye. Out To Die marks their fifth full-length release since the early 90's, throughout which time the band also dropped many a demo, live recording and EP. With former members of Mayhem, Immortal and Satyricon, any newcomer can reasonably expect a heavy black metal influence. But Out To Die is purely blackened thrash, without the frills of keyboards, purely unadulterated metal of the darkest variety.
The band is in fine form throughout Out To Die, with sturdy riffs, blazing leads and solos, and one of the finest rhythm sections I think I've ever encountered in an extreme metal band. The grooves and full-throttle percussive assaults are more than just the backbone of Out To Die; they're often the focal points and highlights to be had. "Trenches" launches off a breathless collection of tracks in superb fashion, and the record does little in the way of letting up from here on out. Pointing out favorites, "Fed To The Fire" is an early highlight, along with the guitar-driven dynamo "Abbandon". "Priest's Hellish Fiend" may be the best-written track here, with an intro reminiscent of many early thrasher's style (think Metallica or Slayer) that launches into a building apocalypse.
With out a few less memorable (but still solid) tracks, Aura Noir have crafted in Out To Die a dream record for extreme metal fanatics. With black metal in the vocals (appropriately rough, violent and ice-cold in their delivery) and certain atmospheres, and punk-fueled thrash in their attitude and delivery, Aura Noir are a seamless combination of entertaining elements come together to unleash one of this year's finest metal albums to date. Don't let this relatively hidden gem go unnoticed.
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