Basilisk - _End of Catastrophe_
(Weird Truth Productions, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (7 out of 10)
They exist since 1997, and yet _End of Catastrophe_ is the first full-length offering by this Japanese ensemble of three, treading familiar paradigms of thrash-tinged death metal of the lighter kind -- yet abrasive and raunchy enough to enable some good old headbanging, and then some.

Consisting mainly of mid-to-fast paced drumming that is, even if unspectacular, able to show off some progressive patterns in the form of rhythm changes and clusters of blasts intertwining with slower and more complex beatings; a robust, throaty low-pitching vocalist; some erratic, serpentine guitar work that bears an old-school signature a la Entombed's _Left Hand Path_; and last but not least, an adequate production that's perfect for this kind of metallic expression (vivid, well balanced, yet not over-produced and occasionally very raw). This all makes _End of Catastrophe_ a ferocious riff-fest of thrashing excellence that is mainly fun to listen to while driving, or drinking (not at the same time, though!).

Heavier than thrash metal in every way, _End of Catastrophe_ bears no self-irony or 'fun factor', so to speak, yet it is not quite as deathly and grave as full-blown death metal -- but also not as goofy as thrash or death metal that takes itself too seriously.

The overall sound is not innocent of other stylistic leanings. It is not a pure breed of any kind, and allows classic heavy metal innuendos to come forth and show themselves in the melodies and the few guitar solos scattered across the recording. The rhythm section, especially the drums, sounds a lot like the patterns used by the band's countrymates Sigh, and when they couple the drumming with their raucous rhythm guitar, it is not unthinkable that what you're listening to is actually something that Sigh might have recorded -- what with the mild oriental vibe and the sweet-and-sour atmosphere, always inherently odd and circus-like and always dramatic and over the top.

Basilisk's _End of Catastrophe_ is a well-rounded album that's enjoyable for what it is, and it has numerous qualities; it ties both old and new, progression and primitivism, violence and melody, and I might also add that this very amalgamation of both death and thrash metal has never before sounded so good in the band's native language, Japanese.

I have a hunch this album could become a genre-bending classic in the years to come. Just watch and see what happens.


(article published 27/1/2014)

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