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Blood On Canvas

Germany Country of Origin: Germany

Blood On Canvas
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: April 26th, 2024
Genre: Thrash
1. Wake Up In A Rage
2. A Couple Of Kills
3. Night In Turmoil
4. Human Flesh Wasted
5. This And My Heart Beside
6. Truth Is A Whore
7. Defcon Four
8. Roots Of Resistance
9. Blood On Canvas

Review by Felix on April 2, 2024.

Here come the dudes of Darkness from Essen, Germany, the center of the legendary Teutonic thrash detonation in the mid-eighties. Well, I enjoy their stamina and their loyalty to the genre, but to be honest, their songwriting skills never made my day. Rare exceptions like Burial At Sea confirm the norm. Yet it is never too late to learn and maybe Blood On Canvas takes the band on a new quality level, although the stylistically questionable artwork does not indicate an evolution. On the other hand, we get a very well-produced album. The guitars have this old-school feel to it that lends thrash metal a special form of authenticity. Moreover, the mix does not lack transparency or sharpness and the guys have found a good balance between the single components. (Even the bass guitar has its moments of fame on 'Truth Is A Whore'). Thus, the sound alone guarantees a certain degree of joy when listening to this full-length.

But wake up, my friends, only 37 years after its debut, Darkness presents an output that really has some strong tunes to offer. Okay, from time to time the band falls back into meaningless sections. For example the chorus of 'A Couple Of Kills' goes down the drain – no force, no melody, no catchiness. This is alarming in view of the fact that the song has been put on the second position of the tracklist. But unlike in the past, this time Darkness is sharpening such nicks quickly. 'Nights In Turmoil' starts with an expressive riff and European tribal drumming (if such a thing exists, haha), its mid-tempo verses slightly lack dynamic, but the more the song progresses, the more intensive, faster, and more furious it gets. Oliver Weinberg contributes powerful vocals, the guitars create a proper density and more or less everything fits here. Yes, the song lies in close proximity to some Kreator tracks of the last years (in particular 'Civilization Collapse'), but who cares? This is the form of Kreator which has rediscovered its almost unforgotten power button. Definitely a surprisingly good number from my point of view.

The same applies for 'This And My Heart Beside'. High velocity generates dynamic, sustainable leads to form a great bridge and the conviction and joy of playing shines through every single tone of the track. Better still, the crispy riff that opens the next song does not fall by the wayside either. 'Truth Is A Whore'? Maybe, but it is definitely true that Darkness have put a lot of soul, work, and energy into this album and the result is amazing. Even the aforementioned track, surely not one of the wildest thrash songs ever, leaves a very consistent, coherent impression and its degree of catchiness is exciting. 'Defcon Four' is another cool piece. It is not twice as good as Holy Moses' "Defcon Two", but it offers a few minutes of proper and intense thrashing madness.

No doubt, the positive aspects prevail and this is a nice surprise for me. Weinberg wants us to be "honest to the core"; and here I follow his words: I did not expect very much. It was just a kind of patriotic duty to put the focus on the album which sets the course right from the get-go with the ferocious 'Wake Up In Rage'. As mentioned above, a few rather vapid sections are still to be found in the material and perhaps they should have used a smaller format for the eight minutes plus title track, but nobody is perfect. The trend is your friend and the trend of Darkness is doubtlessly a positive one. In its best moments, the album expresses the fiery intensity of old-school thrash in a very attractive way. This does not include an overdose of individuality, but Darkness represent their genre with a high degree of personal integrity and this is always a laudable thing. To finish with a flat German pun: "Blood on Canvas kann was".

Rating: 7.6 out of 10