THUNDERBOLT, Inhuman Ritual Massmurder (2004, Agonia)
This one is very cool. The skull looks as if it’s embedded in a layer of sedimentary cave rock, thrown down by the gods as the earth’s crust was still molten and pliable, creating the traces of motion that appear on either side of the skull. The color of dried blood on the cranium suggests this was indeed a violently rendered death, the possessor of this skull presumably dying as fast as he lived.
It’s probably unintentional, but this Polish band sounds like super-fast melodic Swede-death circa 1995 — the good stuff like Sacramentum and Dissection — taken and then satanized to an even more extreme degree, sped up so severely that it almost runs off the tracks. Or maybe just think of a melodic Marduk. In any case, this stuff is plain old shit-your-pants intense black metal, so well done that it’s hard not to appreciate, even if a whole album of this stuff gets incredibly boring near or even before the halfway mark. They broke up one album after this one, and although I’m not sure why, I imagine it would get difficult to top what they’re doing here. And they sure give Incantation a challenge when it comes to ridiculously evil-sounding song titles: “Everlasting Infernal Puissance” and “Impious Bewitchments of Aberration.”
— Friar Wagner