Thorns In Existence
Review by Chris Pratl on June 28, 2018.
Not at all what I expected, that’s for sure. I like the occasional shake-up in my listening routine.
From the very opening sounds of “Revelation,” Thorns in Existence from Norway’s Sulphur seemed to predispose itself into my good graces. A black-death outfit from Norway, the very land that brought us black metal in its second wave, these guys are not coattail riders by any stretch. The sophomore release is a blend of black metal and some pretty interesting musical twists and turns. This brand of black metal should be practiced a bit more instead of going for imaginary speed records. It’s certainly a winning hybrid.
Heavy where needed and blackened where warranted, Sulphur creates a unique shadow throne for itself in tremendous riffing and fine drum work that throws you off when you expect the same old movement in your evil hymns. A subtle mix of thrash metal is evident throughout the album, and there seems to be a true feel for some classic sounds in here. For instance, the track “The Purifying Flame” moves along like a black-thrash effort at an even pace, but then hits the midway mark and flows off into some progressive spiel that doesn’t feel out of place at all. Just when you’re finding a little comfort in one particular sound, the band throws a not-so-obvious curve ball and stirs you from your zone and keeps you looking out for more twists along the ride. It’s a great CD to have for the fans among us that like an occasional challenge to our listening habits.
Try as I might, I could not find anything online, but in the track “Hunting Sickening Seas” the mid-vocals sound so much like an Ihsahn guest appearance it’s frightening. He has that very unique quality to his voice, so that was a highlight as well. The following track, “Luna Noctiluca,” is also a heavy, pounding groove that sets Sulphur apart from the hum-drum of the black metal scene.
With an unusual amount of outside devices and out-of-the-norm sounds accompanying Thorns in Existence, the CD can become a true favorite when it reaches a larger audience. Along with the welcomed shift in black metal gears, two new additions to the fold are present on this recording with Erik from Gorgoroth on drums and Vegard Hovland on bass. The overall production on the CD is fine, with most of the instruments mixed nicely save for the bass which is a tad low in the mix for my taste, but nothing to get in any uproar over. It’s still one of the most enjoyable black releases I’ve had the pleasure to hear, but as I said don’t expect Marduk or Profanatica here; the sound is black-prog, which could find its way into the mainstream of our underground if enough people find it cerebral enough to seek out.
It’s a winner for the black metal fan that likes some variety and can adjust to change.
Rating: 8 out of 10
(Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com)
Review by JD on October 5, 2010.
Another Norwegian Black Metal band has crossed the ocean and landed right on to my desk. So far, I have nothing but utmost respect for the metal that comes from the small fishing nation that had spawned my family. For the most part, I enjoy the malevolent music that my
forefather’s homeland has given the world. And now, may I do the honours of introducing Sulphur.
Darkened Avant Garde while having this overpowering and brutally heavy wall of sound, Sulphur attacks with a mixture of newer BM rage, older and simpler styles of BM then added into it, some Thrash components as well. You end up having a band that is very melodically textured, yet has these sinister darken growling guitars and blackened thunderous beats of infernal power grip your soul in its damned clutches.
So many of the songs are so damn good that picking a few examples of Sulphur’s music to talk about is close to impossible. Each one of the ten tracks are the embodiment of what Black Metal should be.... a guiding flickering red flame on a bleak path down to the river Styx. With vocals that are not as guttural as some of their counterparts, there is this sense of melody in the midst of the anthems from hell as well. This band stands out in the slews of BM that is out there.
Sulphur is a band that's rewarding, yet still blows your mind as well. Good metal always rises up and they are clearly head and shoulders over ninety percent of the other purveyors of Black Metal out there.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.7 out of 10