On Tenebrous Wings
Review by Felix on June 20, 2023.
Probably we all know bands that seem to be criminally underrated. In our opinion, it is a mystery why these dudes do not already conquer the world. Well, maybe we are just talking about ordinary units that meet our personal taste in an outstanding manner. This could be the objective explanation. But I don’t believe this bullshit. No doubt: regardless of your personal perspective, Shakma are much greater than the ignorant world realizes and it is almost a shame for the black thrash community that it also does not take much more notice of the Norwegians. Shakma have catapulted themselves on my radar with their phenomenal debut and now, after six lazy years, they return with On Tenebrous Wings. Okay, the playtime of less than 33 minutes is a bit feeble, but as long as the quality level is okay, I don’t hesitate to scream “Remember Reign In Blood!” immediately. These magic words stifle any discussion.
So what about the album’s quality, he? In a nutshell: the full-length is a worthy successor of the debut and this alone says a lot. The songs are full of sinister vibes, sharp riffs and high velocity. Shakma dive deeply into the boiling essence of the bastard genre called black thrash. Okay, the intro does not make much sense, but as soon as the party really begins, all ugly, vile or just filthy creatures leave their shabby holes. They enjoy the somewhat blurred, rumbling and vigorous sound. Admittedly, the drums seem to consist almost only of the snare in some sequences. Maybe the sound engineer suffers from an allergy against powerful bass drums? But come on, the production is still very adequate and strong. It gives the songs the flavor they need to reveal their entire shady force. By the way, the fantastic artwork captures the aura of the homogeneous material brilliantly. The stylish booklet rounds off the external features of the disc.
Let’s get back to the natural core of the release, the music. The songs of House Of Possession did not hide the musician’s affinity for the Bay Area, while On Tenebrous Wings sounds less technical and less precise. But beware, this does not mean that it is a significantly weaker release. Shakma just have taken a step closer to black thrashers like Inculter. 'Cryptic Apparition', for instance, delivers six minutes of spontaneous thrash with a very dark and ominous touch as well as a simple yet catchy chorus. In particular this track would have been a highlight on the first album, too. The explosive 'Under His Spell' mixes raging energy with an extremely old school, almost Bathory inspired instrumental part – the mid-paced riffing could be a leftover from Quorthon’s (R.I.P.) debut. 'The Howling Beast' lives up to its name. Strictly hammering verses lead to an opening chorus, before a fanatic instrumental part sets in. Anyway, each and every song deserves a positive description, because the juvenile, untameable (musical) aggression of the trio (unfortunately the composer of 'Ruthless Defiler' has left the formation) dominates all of the seven songs.
Thus, the absolutely coherent On Tenebrous Wings is bursting with energy while reaching a very high level of musical excellence again. Too bad that it already ends with the intriguing last line of 'Ancient Power'. By the way, did I already say that the guys are criminally underrated?
Rating: 8.6 out of 10609