|Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Kneel Before the Master’s Throne, Hells Headbangers (2011)
September 24th, 2010 / May 24th, 2011
Release length: 36:10
To the Devil his Due starts off with the Satanic Speed Metal EP with the songs “Satanic Speed Metal” and “The Siren’s call”. The first of these two is a Black Metal performance of a song like “Black Metal” by Venom but reimagined as a blasphemous Speed Metal worship track in a manner that sounds live. The song feels laced with aggression and alcoholic fury from start to finish, just the way a dirty Speed Metal song is expected to sound, kicking this compilation off on a high note before buckling down to some hard hitting and faster-then-traditional Black Metal with the song “The Sirens Call” which has a little more of a raw production, but still retains that Speed Metal vibe through a Thrash input against angry Black Metal that just feels like it’s never going to stop with it’s razor-sharp music before that EP finishes, and we’re given the King of Kings/Lord of the Wild EP, which consists of those two songs in their respect track order. This, however, is where things could have been a little different.
While it’s nice that these tracks have basically gone unedited, they could have at least been set towards a consistant volume level. “King of Kings” ushers in a much more raw recording quality with a lower volume that, compared to “Satanic Speed Metal”, sounds really muffled and a little lower. Given that this specific EP was recorded in 2000, it sounds more like something you’d expect to hear from a demo tape in the eighties to early nineties. While this doesn’t really hurt these tracks at all, a little cleaning up or at least matching volume levels would have gone a long way for this compilation release, but in a sense it works for fans so that they get to hear the material as it was originally produced, so really this gripe becomes more a listener’s personal taste then anything, and while it nicely preserves these rare songs in their original format, this is the least the label could have done for those who expected a little more, or to even get the die hard fans to buy this release willingly if they happen to already have the source material in the first place.
Next is the …Of Wolves, Women & War EP, which consists of “Ghost Dance”, a haunting and angry Black Metal track that hammers away with a slight Death Metal vibe to it with haunting guitars, as well as “Taste the Poison” and “Levens Bloed”. The latter two tracks essentially sound the same, except for the fact that “Levens Bloed” has more of a ritualistic vibe with some of the chanting in the vocals that occurs. The production on these tracks is similar to the previous EP’s quality, though a little clearer with slightly louder vocals. The final EP is actually the See You in Hell EP that was issued through Invictus Records the same month this compilation was released. The tracks, however, are placed differently, starting things off with “Through the Broken Pentagram”, a strong modern sounding Black Metal track that takes a strong mixture of Thrash intensity with Death Metal brutality into account, as well as a more ritualistic vibe in the vocal performance similar to that of “Levens Bloed”, and enough changes in the music between faster and slower styles to make the track sound a little more unique then the rest of this compilation.
The Hell’s Headbangers reissue comes shortly after the initial 2010 pressing, and offers those who missed the vinyl release of the recording, or just would rather it on a medium a little more modern, a chance to obtain this on CD. There seems to be no plan to limit this recording either, so those who genuinely want a copy should have no problem obtaining a copy. However, considering the format it’s on and the initial limited press is over, this version would benefit from fixing the audio levels, especially considering how loud the tracks from Satanic Speed Metal and See You in Hell are compared to those from King of Kings/Lord of the Wild and …Of Wolves, Women & War just would have made it all sound better and not make the listener have to mess with the volume when those sets swap out through the compilation. In the end it feels like a minor inconvenience, yes, but it would have just been a nice touch to make the levels somewhat similar on a more modern medium then a vinyl pressing where the source material is expected to remain the same.
The initial pressing is also missing the EPs Violence is the Prince of this World and Terror Abraxas due to time restraint issues, and considering this is the CD version, it’s expected to be the same songs. However, one thing that CDs have over vinyl is they can hold more material, which in this case is a total of eighty minutes per disc. This would comfortably house either of the left out EPs, though Terror Abraxas would have been the obvious chronological choice. Either way, it’s not something one would have expected, but it would have been a nice addition, as well as an incentive for people to buy this version, even if they had already picked up the limited version. Other then that, it’s the same audio, artwork, and tracks, so there’s no real difference other then making it available to a general audience worldwide in a traditional format, and for that it’s great to see this being reissued in the first place to keep these classic songs alive in the Metal world.
In the long run, this becomes a solid collection of Destroyer 666 material. If you happened to miss out on the initial vinyl pressing, you will be able to grab these tracks on the original CD pressing if you don’t want to, or simply can’t track down the initial releases. For fans of intense and often angry Black Metal, this is simply a must have collection if you don’t own the songs already, as each track on here is out of print or generally hard to find, but all boast some seriously kick ass Black Metal from start to finish. No matter what format you happen to pick up, this collection will bring a smile to your ear and find plenty of repeat spins for quite some time.
01. Satanic Speed Metal – 3:50
02. The Sirens Call – 3:56
03. King of Kings – 4:01
04. Lord of the Wild – 5:44
05. Ghost Dance – 4:09
06. Taste the Poison – 3:01
07. Levens Bloed – 2:27
08. Through the Broken Pentagram – 4:48
09. See You in Hell – 4:14
|Initial Score: 9.5/10
2011 Reissue Score: 9.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Hells Headbangers.