CENTURY MEDIA 2014
The Netherlands-based Death and Thrash Metal group Thanatos formed back in 1984, earning the distinction of being one of the first Dutch “extreme metal” bands to emerge. However, it took a total of five demos and the self-released live album Official Live Tape 1987 before finally being picked up by Shark Records for their 1990 debut full-length effort Emerging from the Netherworlds. Sadly, after another demo and a follow-up titled Realm of Ecstasy, they had called it a day.All was silent until Thanatos was reactivated by founding vocalist and guitarist Stephan Gebédi (former Legion) in 1999. He was joined by fellow Hail of Bullets bandmates Paul Baayens (former Asphyx) on guitar and Theo van Eekelen (former Houwitser), as well as Sinister drummer Aad Kloosterwaard. The latter two eventually parted ways, finding bassist Marco de Bruin (former Funeral Winds) and drummer Yuri Rinkel (former Liar of Golgotha) filling out the line-up to what we have today. With a number of major and side releases under their belt up to this point, we are given their sixth full-length effort, Global Purification. But will it capture the listener’s attention and refuse to let go, or is this one of the band’s least appealing offerings to date?
Global Purification does have a fairly crisp digital production quality to it, but it in no way hinders the pissed off energy on display. “Global Purification” greets the listener with a mixture of pissed off socially charged aggression on par with Benumb. Frantic fretting with a deep, rich distortion works with the rather loud bass guitar and fantastic sounding drum kit to unleash a brutalizing assault that will get your blood pumping immediately as the slight melodies being woven in the aforementioned chords relay a creepy, dismal environment. “World Jihad” is another furious piece that is as flawlessly volatile as any Vader song. There’s some rebellious Punk elements that can be picked up on from time to time, but it’s the solid grooves during the last third, as well as the guitar solo, that make headbanging along an involuntary impulse you won’t find yourself fighting in the least.
“Nothing Left” keeps that grim atmosphere alive with haunting leads and a slower Death Metal progression at the start. What follows blends together catchy unsettling hooks for the chorus, and punishing fast paced musicianship for the main verses that try to recapture the earlier visceral spirit, but sadly don’t quite reach that level. That’s not to say this is a bad performance though. The bass kicks tear through the mix in the former, growling vocals accentuate the pounding intensity of the latter, and the epic Heavy Metal guitar solo My Dying Bride would swoon over acting as the conclusion manage to make up for it.
And then you have some that are just gritty throwbacks to the eighties sound of the two genres. “The Murder of Innocence” hammers away with a notable technicality on par with the most intense of Annihilator songs and violent tendencies of a Phobia recording. The song itself just sounds dirty, both musically and lyrically, until the half way point where the leads heading into the eighties echoing Hard Rock guitar solo take a brief and interesting turn towards a Space Rock output thanks to the effect utilized before bludgeoning you once more, throwing in one of the most primal screams you could ever hope to grace as powerfully destructive an album as this.
Of course, Global Purification does have its share of songs that don’t quite have as strong an impact, such as “Queen of Gore”, “Bastion of Blasphemy” and “The Demonized Minority”, but for the most part they are still really good overall. “Feeding the War Machine”, however, doesn’t really have that much of a lasting appeal to it. In fact, while still catchy thanks to the deeper chugging and well timed bits of technicality in the guitars, it’s a fairly safe track that feels like a restrained Slayer performance that doesn’t really go anywhere until the slower paced Middle Eastern elements kick in at the guitar solo about two-and-a-half minutes in. This is even followed by a raspier vocal performance that leads to an undramatic surge of additional hostility that still comes off as being incredibly held back.
Aside “Feeding the War Machine” and the small few that aren’t quite as punishing, Global Purification is still one hell of a Death/Thrash Metal album. Thanatos perfectly channel the raw, angry spirit of the eighties, the one that said they have a something to say and the passion to back it up, with the level of energy and hatred a number of top-notch Dutch Metal bands in both or either style have made that region of Metal well known for. It’s also just fantastic hearing it all come from the pioneers of that area’s movement of extremity after all this time, which will instantly bring a smile to the face of the listener. If you’re a long time fan, Thanatos simply once again do not fail to pound your skull into the most abrasive of bricks walls repeatedly, while newcomers will instantly pledge their loyalty to the group from the very first spin, and well into the countless repeat visits that the quality of Global Purification‘s violence ensures.