NIHILIST, Call Down the Thunder (2006, self-released)
A skull out of time. While this looks every shade of 1984, it’s actually an eyesore released in the modern age. Wonders never cease. And it’s another in the skull family of logo-eaters, something we’ve seen and been amused by a couple times already. The eyepatch and the hair are hilariously self-explanatory. (Especially the hair…he’s got the mane of a lion.) This skull’s here to rock! And to apparently call down the thunder. We see the lightning, so the thunder can’t be far behind. I’m going to guess this sounds exactly like Wild Dogs.
Are there really several young kids who love metal, meet up and form a band together who haven’t ever heard of the Swedish death metal band that has the rightful claim to the Nihlist name? Even if that name hasn’t been in use since the band changed their name to Entombed in 1989, you’d think anyone respectful of the genre’s history would leave the name alone. Or maybe they just don’t care? Anyway, what’s in a name? This Nihilist are from California and they play goofy, hard-rocking metal with a speedy element that isn’t quite thrash but gets close. Lots of dopey vocal phrasing that apes equally dopey riffs. This is their downfall, because otherwise its solid, serviceable metal, even if it’s nothing you’d cross the street to obtain. Occasionally you’ll hear a passage the reaches metal glory, as in “The Assault.” You have to respect their energy, and their tenacity (lots of self-releases over ten years’ time), but they’re generally useless unless you’ve just been introduced to heavy metal, and then I suppose they’d sound fairly fresh. They do a decent but pointless cover of Judas Priest’s “Freewhell Burning,” which provides a perfect example of what their originals attempt to achieve. Judging from the sound of the band plus the cover artwork, I’ll give them another few points for their total lack of irony; Nihilist (CA) seems to be a completely earnest, from-the-heart sort of endeavor. They probably don’t even have beards. Good on ’em for all that.
— Friar Wagner