Review Summary: Alcohol fueled and hate filled, but a surprisingly fun and catchy debut outing from Australian black thrashers Rookwood.
Black thrash. Bands such as Gospel of the Horns, Bestial Warlust and Destroyer 666 have helped make this bastard genre one of the most popular movements in the underground metal community. Combining the up tempo ferocity of thrash with the dark and brooding atmosphere of black metal makes for quite an interesting and engaging listen and the aforementioned bands often make me completely forget about the existence of the original, unadultered thrash movement. Granted, bands like Sodom were already on the same path, but the black thrash genre has given birth to such an impressive and original wave of music that has breathed new life into a once stale area of metal. However, Rookwood sounds nothing like any of these bands.
Whilst still falling under the black thrash umbrella, You Worship **** draws influences from even deeper into metal's past than yesteryears thrash titans. Remember that genre, the one that helped separate thrash from the NWOBHM and gave a few years later, gave birth to grindcore? Yes, I'm talking about punk. Whilst still being full of blast beats and blistering guitarwork, You Worship **** also adds a much dirtier and more stripped back dynamic, usually associated with crusty punk. These mid paced, disgusting sections of hate are put to use perfectly in songs such as “Black is the new White” and “****ing Below the Flag”, where the listener can't help but be drawn to the pounding feel and often one finds oneself nodding along subconsciously, before the riff is even partway through.
It's this catchiness that really makes the album. Despite being a harsh, barking growl, the vocals are actually quite easy to understand, and the style of the lyrics means that this album is incredibly easy to sing along to. On top of that, the lyrical content itself feels incredibly personal and in some strange ways, almost easy to identify with. Although the title of the album gives the impression of being just another album filed with the overdone and often laughable blasphemies of a second rate black metal band, You Worship **** goes a little deeper than that and challenges complacency and conformity in society. Whilst this too would sound a bit cliché and tiring, the fantastic and over the top deliver along with a tongue in cheek swagger makes this once old topic fun and enjoyable.
Musically, the album loses some of the sheer intensity of other black thrash bands, but it more than makes up for that with furious d-beats and ferocious guitar riffs. The production here is quite thick, with the vocals cutting through the mix quite powerfully, although it never feels muddy or poorly done. The two guitars are often found playing two separate parts, complementing each other quite effectively. The leads are impressive and tasteful and the rhythm is still interesting enough to make the two layers merge together as one whole, adding another dynamic to certain parts. The songs are laid out superbly, never leading to a moment that feels out of place and everything seems to fit together like a glove. Although not really being that complex, the songs still feel complete and whole.
You Worship **** is a slightly different take on an already successful idea and whilst it certainly isn't groundbreaking or revolutionary, is still well worth a listen. Those seeking an album of mindless fun will be rewarded by an entertaining and memorable album that never tries to be anything more.