This elusive project from the middle of Greece is back after a five year absence with an extended play released by No Remorse, a label widely known for their extensive focus on traditional metal. Not much has changed since their less significant releases except perhaps a better production and a more subtle presentation. Black Sword Thunder Attack not only has one of the best names ever (if you disagree, we unfortunately can’t be friends), but play some of the most convincing traditional metal around.
Except for “The Messenger”, all the tracks of this EP are re-recordings of their previous material so I was a bit disappointed at first. I don’t ask for much in life to be fair: I like to drink beer ever day, play Dungeon & Dragons with the lads as much as possible, eat a lot of pizza… but what I want I really want is a Black Sword Thunder Attack full length album! Their 2015 promo is one of my favorite singles of all time alongside Aktor’s I Am the Psychic Wars and I’ve almost heard it too many times. You need to live with what you’re getting though and what’s in this EP is certainly blessed by Zeus himself.
Greece has a peculiar place in metal’s pantheon, it’s known worldwide for its death and black metal bands such as Rotting Christ, Varathron, or Septicflesh, but a focus on underground epic metal has always been alive. I wouldn’t be surprised if the country was about to erect a statue to honor the memory of Mark Shelton somewhere in its lush valleys. They always paid their respect to Manilla Road and bands like Wrathblade or Dark Nightmare evolve in the epic heavy metal style. Black Sword Thunder Attack pray at the altar of William J Tsamis and his beloved projects Warlord and Lordian Guard. There’s the same sort of religious epic feeling you get from the Greek American scholar’s music. The vocals clearly pay homage to Lordian Guard with the presence of a priestess at the microphone. The clean vocals have this mystical feel to them, there’s this effect that makes them both part of the background and the foreground at the same time – divine echoes perhaps!? It just penetrates your soul with a sort of idiosyncratic feel. They compliment the fast rhythmic riffs well and they’re an integral part of what makes this band special.
The use of synths and keys are giving a nice depth to the compositions. The four songs are pretty standard in length and structure (all around four minute), but the instrumentation brings them to another level. The use of synth is subtle and while it could be considered a background element, it adds so much to the band. Like a decisive battle won by a landslide, they’re a fast-paced band, much faster than the aforementioned Lordian Guard in fact. They have a strong ear for entrancing memorable melodies and they’re compact compositions. What I could point out is that they could be even more grandiose by developing their songs a bit further and expanding on them a bit, but they prefer to win their skirmishes. I mean, it’s perfectly fine – I’m just wishing for a “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” from them, don’t mind me.
Tracks like “Evil Sorcery” are explosive in how minimal they are. It’s bread and butter but done with the freshest ingredients around. No chemical stuff and weird hormones. Just pure heavy metal guitars played with elegance and fiery passion. I really appreciate their blend of lo-fi metal, it’s honest and makes you travel through the ages.
Sixteen minutes is definitely not enough, it’s like Brad Pitt as Achilles killing this big beefy dude in Troy. I want more, give me more! He was killed too quickly! Just add more feta to my Greek salad, please!
Album rating: 87/100
Favorite track: Evil Sorcery