Being a child of the 1980s, I always cringe internally when I get an album promo for a band that touts itself as "old school <insert subgenre here>", because if the re-thrash movement from a few years ago taught us anything, some folks should just remain cover bands working for beer money at their local Drink & Drown. I do try to give each one a listen, though, and occasionally I’m rewarded with a gem from the rock pile.
Such is the case with Bangladeshi thrashers Surtur and their debut EP, Descendant of Time. Consisting of three songs and an unnecessary intro track (Seriously, aren’t we over these yet?), Surtur call back to the thrash acts of the late 1980s/early 1990s, and that’s very apparent on the title track. Descendant of Time recollects bands like Sadus and Dark Angel with just a smidgen of Teutonic influence. The production is crisp, but not to the point where anything sounds overproduced. Instead, it gives each element its place to shine, and none of the instruments nor vocals trample over the others.
Singer Riasat Azmi has a snarling rasp indicative of this style of thrash, and it fits perfectly. The string section, consisting of Shadman Omee (guitars) and Masnun Efaz (bass), shows a level of craft typically reserved for a band’s later releases. Drummer Rifat Rafi is also remarkably competent, giving the right balance between flair and intensity. Overall, there is a considerable amount of skill being showing on this album.
Switching back to the music, while the second track, Maggot Filled Brain, retains a lot of the energy of the opener, the EP hits its high point with the final track, Demolisher. This song opens fairly mid-tempo, but it soon bursts into a blasting monster not unlike some of Marduk’s early work. Despite being the shortest song on the album, there are several time changes and more than enough qualities to hold your attention.
Surtur have released an impressive debut and do their country proud. If this is any indication of what the metal scene is like in Bangladesh, then it’s definitely a country to keep an eye on. As such, you should head over Surtur’s Bandcamp and give Descendant of Time a listen. I think you’ll be impressed.
Special thanks to Qabar PR for the complementary review copy.