Review Summary: The darker they are, the deeper they cut.
I am sure you have heard the expression Jack of all trades, master of none
. The blackened thrash enforcers from Missouri surely take that statement to heart with this Spectre of Ruin
. The progressive technicality of their debut Starving Out The Light
runs thinner on Spectre of Ruin
, where the band has exchanged the complexity of their first albums for concentrated, decimating power. Instead of trying to distill all their influences in an extended medley of thrash metal classics, Black Fast has turned one more page and focused all their efforts on creating a more uniform and consistent album.
Spectre of Ruin
still retains some of the early Thrash influences that were also present in their sophomore and successful 2015 output, Terms of Surrender
, but it also incorporates new elements like the decaying feel of Black Metal minced into the mix. At first the production feels very muddy compared to the band’s previous works, but further into the album this translates as the consequent blackening of their sound, where the song “Mist of Ruin” makes up for a good example. The relentless rhythm section governed by Ryan Thompson on bass and Ross Burnett on drums allows Trevor Johanson and Aaron Akin’s guitars to shine in different ways, from the spectacular solo of “Scarecrow and Spectre” to the organic riffs of highlights “Famine Angel” and “Husk”. The steady mood of every track in Spectre of Ruin
comes at a price though. The poised speed of almost every track could give the impression of being a monotonous mess during the first trek through the album. Sure, delving further with repeated listen helps to unfold the different layers and intentions that lie beneath, specially because there is one thing that Black Fast has vastly improved in this last release, and that is atmosphere crafting.
Spectre of Ruin
is shrouded by a darker and colder mantle than any of Black Fast’s previous albums, with Aaron Akin’s voice cracking and snarling with utter fury over the symphonic maelstrom happening in the background. It’s an album of enthralled beauty that doesn’t fool around with intros or interludes. First single “Cloak of Lies” just blasts the door open like a battering ram, and from there it’s just Blackened Thrash road downhill with no brakes. Black Fast honour their name with Spectre of Ruin
, showing evolution and growth with an album that represents a turning point for the band and probably a step forward in the right direction.