Out of my own free will, I'm examining a field of metal I've never really got into before - Black Metal. For me, this is uncharted territory as Slayer, Cradle Of Filth, Bathory and Venom are acts that I haven't give a lot of time to listen to I ashamedly admit.
Now from the outset, there is a multitude of black metal bands concentrated around Scandinavia although in recent times they've received some negative publicity, namely the French arrest of musician, killer (no joke, sorry) and neo-Nazi Kristian "Varg" Vikernes. Several Norwegian churches were also burnt down too as the wave of Nazism swept throughout. However, most acts of the said genre do try to disassociate themselves from this type of extremism. So, to Aura Noir. They're a three piece act from Oslo which I came across on the off chance during a live set in 2012 at the Damnation Festival, Leeds University, and while some other headline acts were somewhat subdued, AN for me were a standout group and certainly one the highlights of that evening.
Aggressor (guitar, vocals), Apollyon (drums, bass, vocals) and Blasphemer (guitar) make up the band and their main themes centre on aggression, blasphemy and, well, just about everything below the surface, all typical traits in their field of music. Their influences are deeply rooted in thrash and black, Venom and Slayer amongst the styles The 'Noir have shaped in their act.
The vocals are shared between Apollyon and Aggressor, the former with gravelly snarls and Aggressor with enriched tones similar to Lemmy's. The music sounds very Motorhead, very old school, pacey and wouldn't have sounded out of place in the New Wave Of Heavy Metal 30 years ago. This fifth album isn't very long either, just 38 minutes altogether, but it feels more drawn out than the eight tracks on the disc. It's frenetic and full of aggression all the way although it feels very refined and well engineered throughout. No real standout tracks here, but I've enjoyed Fed To The Flames, Abbadon with its hefty beat and The Grin From The Gallows with its hint of irony and almost melodic guitars.
Out To Die does exactly what it says on the label, a scene setter, aggressive and lacking contrition in its message to the outside world. I'm still dipping my feet into Black Metal and Thrash, but I'm sure that it warrants a listen if anyone believes that the likes of Cradle Of Filth should never be prodded with a bargepole. M. Richardson 31/07/2013.
7 out of ten. This is good and well worth a listen.
You can buy the album here on Amazon
You can listen to Out To Die here on Spotify
Aura Noir's activities can be followed on their Facebook page here