Death From Above
Review by Felix on May 28, 2023.
The heavy metal world has seen so many useless intros that nobody knows its exact number. Either way, it feels good to listen to "The Calling", the short instrumental opening of "Death from Above". Gloomy, sharp guitars draw the listener immediately into the second album of Greece's thrashing horde called Riffobia. This prelude is atmospheric yet metallic and points directly into the right direction. Riffobia made us familiar with the "Laws of Devastation", but now they bring us "Death from Above" and it seems as if the guys are still in rage. "Ritual", the first regular song, fires its deadly load into the audience in a strict, straight and merciless manner. Raw vocals, slicing guitars and somersaulting drums coalesce perfectly in order to show the world the power of ferocious Greek thrash once again and hell yes, I am impressed. The pretty casual riffing of "Laws of Devastation" has given way to a more brutal way of proceeding and many questions come to mind. When did Slayer forget how to write such songs? Why is such an album limited to 500 copies? Who is able to press the stop button on her or his stereo system as long as the album is running?
Broadly speaking, the whole first half of the output celebrates an orgy of high velocity, grim energy and musical competence. Due to the latter, all songs have the necessary iota of melodies without being melodic in any way. The speedy rhythms dominate the sound and sometimes it seems as if the very dynamic but never jittery band flies. This is old school thrash with a brutal, contemporary production and it is hardly possible to be not infected by the overdose of aggression that is conveyed by songs like "Endless Agony" with its pinpoint gang shouts or "Faceless" which shines with a brief but brilliant solo part. Nobody can stop the bloody feast of the dudes and so they split skulls by the dozens in a humourless manner. Maybe some thrash metal separatists are of the opinion that fans of old Sodom albums or comparable works will not enjoy the here reviewed album, because it has no rumbling sections. Instead, Riffobia offer a very precise and bone-dry form of thrash. But I am the living proof that one can enjoy both types. Therefore, I see no reason in taking part in this academic discussion.
The sixth track starts the second half and it takes the liberty of having a short warm-up period, before the sharp-edged riffing of the rasping guitars gains the upper hand again. Admittedly, the offerings from number six to ten are less compelling than those of the first half. Nevertheless, Riffobia present more than solid songs and their technical skills are beyond doubt. The title track marks the climax of the second half. Its vibrant riffs take possession of every eighties-loving thrasher and the rasping guitars shape another jewel. No doubt, the Greeks have increased their level of quality. Their songs are still compact and without a single gram of fat, but the riffs are simply better than before. Material with a duration of less than 32 minutes might not indicate a gargantuan creative potential, but don't jump to conclusions. Sometimes self-restriction is a value in itself, just ask, for example, all those dudes who think they must open their (mostly questionable) full-lengths with opulent yet useless intros or even "overtures", to use their own swanky diction. In the meantime, I listen to "Death from Above".
Rating: 8 out of 10116