Crosswrecker: Black Flame Divination

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Crosswrecker: Black Flame Divination
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Crosswrecker: Black Flame Divination
Black Metal, Thrash Metal
No Sign of Life Records
June, 2010
Release length: 21:31
Myspace
Black Flame Divination is the debut release from the Black/Thrash Metal act Crosswrecker. This four piece hails from Lahti, Finland, and definitely have a solid sound to their release. Despite the fact that pretty much everything about the CD, such as artwork, information in the booklet, etc., cannot be read, leading much of the lyrical content to simply be picked up by ear for fear of eye strain, the music itself presents itself in a raw manner with intense Thrash riffs that play on the recent revival of the style, but with a pretty heavy Blackened influence to make the recording sound as evil as it is enjoyable. The question is, however, whether this is a live release, or just that raw of a production quality.

Which is why the mentioning of the hard to read text comes in. Looking at the booklet, you can’t really tell anything about the production of the album other then the man who produced it, and when. The text used is a sort of smokey black color, which is placed against a slightly deeper black, making it impossible to draw any information from the booklet. While this isn’t necessarily a drawback, being able to read the lyrics, when they are included, without getting a migrain would be nice. But, as stated, the production here sounds like it might have been a live performance recorded and edited to sound like it was a studio recording, which is why this information would have been nice to be able to read. The music itself is strong, and nicely blends two-step Thrash with Black Metal guitar chords and riffs that consist of a high speed Thrash assault, while still mixing in moments of Crossover Thrash into the guitarwork. “To Victory” does this nicely, and really showcases the old-school influence by utilizing speed through the song with Black Metal chords here and there, intertwined with the slower, almost Black Metal battle cry/music segment that acts more like the song’s breakdown, but the intensity of the riffs can sometimes merge into Crossover Thrash and give off a sense of a more Punk influenced sound, which is aided nicely by the nice levels of distortion.

The only thing off about the album is that the music is pretty far into the background, but the vocals are right at the front of the recording. The vocal approach is a more stern shouting method then anything traditional to Thrash or Black Metal, and it works nicely due to the speed and intensity of the music. But, the problem is that the volume of the vocals is podded pretty high up against the music. Sure, you don’t want the vocals drowned out in the mix, but instead they wind up masking the music moreso then anything. Of course, the echo effect used on them does aid in the nostalgic bit, and adds a nice little haunting feel to the music. The range is there as well, though it does seem restricted at times to certain shouting manners, but some tracks, such as “Christ Scourger”, does manage to incorporate a more traditional Black Metal approach at the start with demonic sounding wails at the start, as well as nearing the song’s end against a nice gutteral growl. These hints of the vocalist’s ability are promising, but winds up being sad since they are only done to add atmosphere to a song, and aren’t necessarily done to add more complexity to the music.

Either way, whether this is a live recording or not, Black Flame Divination has some pretty strong material. The two tracks already mentioned are some of the better material off the release, but there’s no denying that the rest of the album shows off the skill of Crosswrecker well, and showcasing a very promising young band. But the first track off the release, “Sepulchral Maledictions”, will easily be one of the favorites due to it’s catchy intensity and grim atmosphere brought on by the speed of the music being played, and overall ferocity of the music in general incorporated with the screaming vocals, though this song may take one or two spins to grow on the listener simply because of the odd level on the vocals. Outside that, the “Outro” to the EP simply feels drawn out. It’s mostly noice that clearly is meant to create a grim atmosphere to the release, but it sounds more like it would have worked out better as an introductory track then a closing track, which “Christ Scourger” does a good job at to begin with. Outside that, the only other gripe to be had is that some of the track cut off too quick. “Outro”, again, is one of those, as you can tell the edit came too early with a click that doesn’t seem like it should have been there. This also occurs on “Black Flame Divination”, but iit seems like it’s just bleeding into “To Victory”, though the gap is just a little too long for it to be done properly and comes off more as just an early cut to the audio itself.

With the volume level and small technical issues of the album taken into consideration, this release from Crosswrecker shows a great deal of promise. The band brings in various ideas of Thrash and Black styles to the mix, creating a menacing EP drenched in classic Thrash goodness. While the artwork with the release is a pain to read, it doesn’t affect the album in the slightest, though the production information, given how raw this recording is, would definitely be a little insightful. But, either way, Black Flame Divination features five kick ass Thrash tracks that will have your fists pounding in the air, and your mouth salivating for the follow-up release.

01. Sepulchral Maledictions – 3:50
02. Recreant Saints – 3:27
03. Black Flame Divination – 2:36
04. To Victory – 4:12
05. Christ Scourger – 4:54
06. Outro – 2:32

Overall Score: 7.5/10
Crosswrecker (band)
Crosswrecker (logo)Digital review copy of this release provided by No Sign of Life Records.