REVIEW: BLACK FAST – “Spectre Of Ruin”
It has been three years since the St. Louis’s Black Fast released their monumental ‘Terms Of Surrender’ album in 2015. A band’s third album tends to be a pivotal. The band can either churn out a rehash of previous material or stray so far from the path, that diehard fans are no longer willing to continue the journey. Thankfully, Black Fast are relentlessly forging metal on their new album ‘Spectre of Ruin’, which retains the band’s unbridled aggression while blasting new pathways into your synapses.
Starting with “Cloak of Lies”, ‘Spectre of Ruin’ is a full-on assault. This attack continues throughout the album. This is what sets Black Fast and their new album apart from previous work. Black Fast share a similar approach in song construction with technical thrashers Vektor and Warbringer. They avoid a lot of chugging or down picked riffs. Instead they opt for a continuous barrage. The beauty is that this songwriting technique gives the music a symphonic feel without losing the power and violence. Where a typical symphonic band ends up sounding weak, Black Fast is sonically fierce.
The downside of crafting songs which feature a bombardment of drum, bass, and guitars is that at first glance, you may think all the songs sound the same. However, there are layers within this music that makes it a great listening experience. The immediate effect of the music on ‘Spectre of Ruin’ is felt in the rhythmic pummeling of Ross Burnett (drum) and Ryan Thompson (bass). Together they are a heavy metal bullet train racing into infinity. You’ll hear this on songs such as “Mist of Ruin”, “Scarecrow and Spectre”, and “Phantom I Am”. The wonderful mix on this album allows you to pick out each drum, cymbal, and bass note with clarity. The performances by Ross and Ryan are exemplary.
The symphonic majesty of Black Fast is manifested in the guitars of Aaron Akin and Trevor Johanson. On songs such as “Scarecrow and Spectre” and “Temple of Leviathan”, the soaring guitars spread out a rich loam of harmonies. This vast palate of harmonies and melodies girdled in aggression allow you to see the story behind the music. Closing my eyes while listening to “Silhouette Usurper”, I can feel the malignant terror and blossoming of desperation within the black. When you factor in the snarling vocal delivery of Aaron Akin, the music of ‘Spectre of Ruin’ becomes a testament to metal music.
Technicians of deathly thrash, Black Fast return with a beautiful opus of menacing metal on their new album entitled ‘Spectre of Ruin’. The metal onslaught is relentless. With each listen, you will find more to love about this album. It is through the musical savagery of Black Fast that we can escape our pain and receive the gift of catharsis.