PERSECUTOR, Wings of Death (2008, Rawblackult Productions)

The skull:
You’d be forgiven for thinking this demo was released in 1985, but no, it came out in 2008. There was a time when covers this bad were obviously the product of overeager teenagers doing their best to bring their evil visions to life, but in this late and derivative age, men probably in their late 20s or older are making covers like this to conjure a false nostalgia for an era they were born too late to know firsthand. You almost have to wonder if the job of drawing the skull went not to the guy in the band with the most artistic skill, but to the guy with the least, just for the sake of some misunderstood authenticity. You also have to wonder, “Where are the fucking wings?”

The music:
Unsurprisingly, it’s throwback thrash with a black metal twist, but it’s played with more verve than you might expect, and with no small amount of actual musical skill. I’m especially impressed by the rubber snake bass that burbles throughout with an almost spastic business. It’s excessively overplayed, in the best way. The riffing is also fairly clever at times, although this is one of those reverse synergy situations where putting everything together smooths over the most interesting elements to create an overall atmosphere of familiarity. I’ve been exposed to a lot of music like this since came online, and this is one of the better examples, but I still probably wouldn’t listen to it unbidden by duty. But, if raw throwback German style thrash with nods to first wave black metal if your kind of thing, then you’d probably love Persecutor.
— Friar Johnsen

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