[For those who came here for a review of Megiddo’s The Holocaust Messiah, I suggest you read THIS ONE, since it’s a revised review of the entire album; the one below was based on a listen that omitted three of the album’s tracks.]
Roughly 13 years have passed since Toronto’s Megiddo put out an album, and aside from a trio of splits in 2003, I don’t think there’s been any new music from the band at all since then — until Barbarian Wrath released The Holocaust Messiah about 10 days ago. It consists of seven tracks, plus an intro and outro — and it’s a gem.
I have to note at the outset that I’ve only heard six of the tracks so far, because the title track and the intro and outro music haven’t yet been posted for streaming — but I’ve forged ahead with this review instead of waiting for my CD to arrive, because I’m more enthusiastic than patient.
There’s nothing fancy about the music. The songs are remarkably simple, with an organic sound, and almost all of them are fairly short. Each one has just one or two riffs (and some well-timed variations) that the band drive home through repetition, and equally uncomplicated, no-frills drum and bass rhythms. But the riffs are so ingeniously crafted and so damned catchy that this primal music proves to be highly addictive.
It’s a real throw-back style of black metal, too, reminiscent of early Bathory, with some Motörhead and punk DNA in the musical genome, too (and whether rightly or wrongly, I caught myself thinking of Sabbath at one point during “Fourth Seal”).
Despite the essential simplicity of the music, there is variety among the songs. The opening track on the Bandcamp stream, “Tombs”, is roughly twice as long as every other track on the album, and it’s a slow, bleak, piece of music, more “atmospheric” than anything else on the record, and it proves to be quite hypnotic.
That’s followed by “Onslaught Eternal”, which is a blood-pumping… er… onslaught… built of fast, slashing, thrash and black metal riffs and blasting drums, but with a simple lead guitar motif that will really get stuck in your head.
The next two songs, “Fourth Seal” and “Spawn of Abel”, back down on the speed with mid-paced tempos. The former includes some classic heavy metal riffing, while the latter brought to mind a kinship with Bathory songs like “Raise the Dead” or “In Nomine Satanas”.
“Walpurgisnacht” turns up the energy dial again, thrashier than its two predecessors, but like everything else on the album, it has a core melodic hook that proves to be highly infectious.
You get a high-speed combo of punk, thrash, and black metal in the first part of the closing track “Thrall”, which finishes in a slower tempo with yet another repeating riff that hammers itself into your head like coffin nails. And then what you can hear on Bandcamp is over… way too soon.
In fact, the album isn’t over — the title track comes next, followed by the outro. When I have the chance to hear them, I’ll update this review with a few more thoughts.
On top of all this throw-back instrumental ingenuity, Megiddo’s solo practitioner of the primal black arts shrieks his blasphemous lyrics in a harsh, ugly, abrasive voice — you can make out the words pretty well, but they sound like they’re being uttered by an enraged beast.
I’m thoroughly hooked on this short album. The man behind Megiddo has a knack for crafting songs that take no time at all to dig their claws into your skin, and then are very hard to dislodge. But the music is so much infernal fun, why would you want to?
You can order The Holocaust Messiah on CD via the Bandcamp page of Germany’s Barbarian Wrath — but Barbarian Wrath recommends that the CD instead be ordered from Witches Brew (here) (“her packing is far superior and much faster than mine”).