Deströyer 666 - _Cold Steel... For an Iron Age_
(Season of Mist, 2002)
by: James Montague (9.5 out of 10)
Not content to bathe in the critical acclaim and enthusiastic fan response to _Phoenix Rising_, Australia's trustiest headbangers unleashed another fierce attack on the listening public. And they were in no mood to fancypant about, either. While the previous album, _Phoenix Rising_, tended towards longer songs that gradually built the tension, _Cold Steel... For an Iron Age_ thrusts the intensity upon you from the very first note. Without intros, without soothing epic soundscapes or melodic interludes, the band tears through nine aggressive tracks and a mere 34 minutes later leaves the listener battered and bruised.

At this point many readers might question what makes _Cold Steel..._ so special, an album which I had no hesitation in nominating the premier release of 2002. After all, many bands have rebelled against the modernisation of metal and joined the "no girls, no keyboards" brigade. The difference here, though, is that Destroyer 666 were not caving in to their own limitations by stripping back their style. Whilst many of metal's most worthy protagonists like Sigh and Lux Occulta are off finding how many disparate influences they can work into their tapestries -- and all credit to them, they are masters of the craft -- these fine Aussie lads are finding how to make metal as vicious and memorable as possible, in its traditional form. Their blast sections are mayhemic and captivating like no other, but the band always knows when to pull the emergency brake on their speeding train and indulge in some foot-stomping, arse-kicking riffs, with simple chants like "Fire! Black Fire!", "Rape the world!" and "Victory is one!" to roar along to. And therein lies this album's essence -- its anthemic nature. This takes us back to the good old days when metal was all about beer and banging your head. A return to an age of innocence, perhaps, but with the bitter cynicism of 21st century living, and the lack of naivete it brings.

In a year where I started to indulge in many musical pursuits outside the metal spectrum, Destroyer 666 reminded me that no other style can match the fist-pumping, hostile intensity of honest extreme metal. Whatever reservations you may have about the band's silly name and even sillier member pseudonyms like K.K. Warslut (which does date back a long way, it must be said), I urge you to put them aside and hear one of the finest recent incarnations of this indefatigable musical style.


(article published 21/4/2003)

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