Aura Noir - _The Merciless_
(Tyrant Syndicate / Peaceville, 2004)
by: Pedro Azevedo (6 out of 10)
Six years have passed since Aura Noir's last studio effort _Deep Tracts of Hell_; and while that seems a long time to wait for a follow-up, fans of the band's late '90s revivalist black/thrash are likely to be instantly interested. Aura Noir produced a couple of entertaining full-lengths back in the day, and in this latest incarnation the line-up is the same as on their first full-length, _Black Thrash Attack_ (i.e., Mayhem's Blasphemer has returned), except Appolyon now shares drumming duties with Aggressor. Both sound and focus remain largely unchanged: raw, uncomplicated and very metal. So, it's all good news for _The Merciless_, right? Theoretically yes, but the album turns out to be a bit of a letdown.

_The Merciless_ is the first release of the recently formed Tyrant Syndicate label -- created by none other than Darkthrone, and distributed through Peaceville. While Aura Noir may be a reasonably obvious choice for the label, _The Merciless_ achieves much of what it sets out to as far as giving listeners a first impression of what the label is probably going to be about stylistically. Unfortunately, I find the music lacks the ferocity required to carry its occasionally inspired riffing and drumming to a higher level, and ultimately its ability to succeed is considerably limited. Given the record's brevity, I'd say selecting the four best tracks out of the eight on the disc and making a fifteen minute EP instead would probably have been a better option. This is a decent effort, but not the crushing return I had hoped for from Aura Noir.


(article published 19/10/2004)

2/13/1999 P Schwarz Aura Noir: Of Thrash and Trueness
2/13/1999 P Schwarz 9 Aura Noir - Deep Tracts of Hell
6/7/1997 S Hoeltzel 7 Aura Noir - Black Thrash Attack
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