There are many things that make a good extreme metal album. The raw aggression of black metal, the unrelenting speed of thrash metal, or simply a couple of guys that get together to spread cruelty into the abyss. Chile’s Invocation Spells do all of the above in their new release ‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’.
The duo’s fourth release within five years, ‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’ is a brief 25-minute collection of fast, chaotic riffs that are well handled and structured into 8 songs laid beneath a progressive, modernised vocal production that’s still inevitably loyal to the classic, raw black metal trademark. Invocation Spells exercise this grim, atmospheric tactic flawlessly while turning up the energy in a speed/ thrash style that would make Celtic Frost and Hellhammer proud.
Deriving a similar sound from other blackened thrashers such as Possessed and Darkthrone, it would be generous of me to say they’ve done anything innovative here, aside from polishing their consistent style on album four while also keeping the classic black speed metal sound alive and fresh long after its golden age. This is an album that would satisfy genre purists as well as the open-minded.
Listening as far as 30 seconds into opening track Ruins of Cemetery will have your feet emulating the undercurrent of rapid drum beats heard throughout most of the album. The tempo is consistent throughout ‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’ to a point where you could relate the experience of hearing the entire album to listening to just one 25-minute song with dozens of infectious riffs. This almost feels like it’s been accomplished in the same tongue-in-cheek manner as what appears to be a hooded skeleton child riding a donkey over a pile of other skeletons depicted on the monochromatic album cover.
The entire album flows seamlessly until you reach standout track Obscure and Evil, where the dichotomy of the song title is evident in the dramatic, musically displaced composition, which is promptly replaced by some much darker riffage.
At first listen there’s no discernible distinction between title track Spread Cruelty and most of the other songs, until the riffs descend into a (slightly) calmer melody and we get a hint of unexpected but well placed clean vocals. Other prominent highlights of the album include the ominous Victims of Doom and the diverse riffs of the short and sweet Torment of Obssessor.
Overall, the album’s fast pace, cold aggression, and guttural vocals reverberating from the underground may sound overwhelming in theory, but even with the vast disarray of riffs that come down on your skull heavier than that donkey’s hoof, when all 8 songs are over it’s just as easy to press replay and return to track one.
‘Spread Cruelty in the Abyss’ is an album to be thoroughly enjoyed again and again, on and off stage, inside an underground record store, at your friends’ place, pissing off your neighbours at stupid o’clock in the morning, anytime, anywhere! If you like your metal black, fast, and angry, get on the assault that is Invocation Spells’ latest masterpiece. Go forth, thrash, and spread cruelty into the abyss just like they did in the 80’s.
Pick-up your copy of ‘Spread Cruelty In The Abyss’, out now via Hells Headbangers, HERE!