Inculter Thrash ‘Til Death On Fatal Visions
Fresh fiyah for frash fiends.
Somewhat contrary to common perception, black thrash is a tough sub-genre to stand-out in as a band. The relatively constrictive parameters of the style seem to have either one of two effects on a band. They either adhere strictly to the well trodden tenets of the genre and produce something largely unremarkable to anyone but the trvest diehard denim doppelgängers, or they experiment and mix in enough external influence that the common consensus deems them too anomalous to be considered as conforming to the tag. Whether or not Inculter have deliberately tried to deal with this dichotomy is broadly irrelevant though, what matters to you most is that they have managed to do so in an outstanding manner on their sophomore speedfest Fatal Visions. It will only take one playthrough of this record for you to hear why the album stands head, shoulders, and horns above the majority of the modern scene.
Featuring members of Reptilian and Sepulcher, the quartet are yet another example of why the current Norwegian death/thrash scene is being touted as such a burgeoning force in contemporary metal. In that regard, Inculter’s relationship to Reptilian/Sepulcher could be considered analogous to that of Obliteration and Nekromantheon. However, where Obliteration‘s hallucinatory haze-shrouded death metal is arguably far more ambitious than the textbook thrash attack of their Nekromantheon project, Inculter now present as an almost inverse isomer to the band members’ more death metal focused acts. A stereoisomer perhaps? Fuck, I can’t remember shit from organic chemistry. There’s a good chance albums like Fatal Visions are partly to blame for this; 35 minutes of relentless headbanging is not typically a recommended practice for memory retention. And besides, why waste synaptic space remembering useless nerd junk when you’ll need it to store all these fucken rifffffffffffffs.
From the moment you ‘Open The Tombs’ until you pass ‘Through Relic Gates’, Fatal Visions will have your neck snapping with dynamic songs bursting at the seams with rapacious riffing, dizzying solos, and insanely tight drumwork. It’s not just the shredding solos that leave their mark on the tracks though, one of the album’s strong points is the abundance of melodic motifs; the band seem to instinctively know when to lay down a lead lick leaving a longer lasting impression than any fleeting fragment of fret-fuckery ever could. The riffs they sit atop of are also of absolutely top-tier quality. Inculter make the most of every moment, fusing every tried-and-true thrash technique in crafting some of the most creative riffs the stagnating sub-genre desperately needs to survive.
As much as it is interesting to hear bands such as Hellbringer harken back to the halcyon Hell Awaits-era heyday of the style, or a young band like China’s Ancestor take the Teutonic thrash of Kreator/Sodom to task, when you hear Inculter take their influence(s) as less a template and more a teaching tool to catalyse creativity itself, the results speak for themselves. Fatal Visions is one of the standout albums to emerge from within the confines of black/thrash in recent years, and should stand as an example of what can still be achieved without straying into foreign soundscapes or resorting to awkward fusions.