Review: Krvsade – Judgement Day EP
If you’d asked me 10 years ago whether thrash would be alive and well in 2020, the answer would have been a hard “no.” While the Big Four (TM) were still going strong, the new bands I was finding were all along the lines of Fueled by Fire; competent but otherwise overtly Exodus-aping derivatives of the bands that had come before. Thankfully, thrash is still thriving in the new decade thanks to a new crop of bands that use German and South American thrash as their launching point.
For my money, thrash with a heavy dose of death metal has always been more fertile ground for bands looking to make their mark after the genre’s 80s heyday. Charlotte’s Krvsade is clearly of the same opinion. Their second EP, Judgement [sic] Day is a promising, if overly brief, show of force from a band still finding their footing in today’s metal scene.
The title track gets things going with a main riff reminiscent of Kreator‘s earlier, more chaotic work. Andre Evans, pulling double duty on guitar, does an admirable job handling harsh vocals. His range isn’t enormous but he sits in familiar Darren Travis/Mille Petrozza territory that suits the music perfectly.
“Keep it in the Church” got the nod as the single from the EP, but the song frequently falls into pedestrian territory. Evans and co-guitarist Arthur Reid are fantastic at throwing out thrashing riffs, but the writing on “Keep it in the Church” is far too melded to traditional intro-chorus-verse structure without a sufficiently unique spin to keep it fresh past a few repetitions, let alone for nearly seven minutes.
It’s only when Krvsade get to “The Key and the Gate” that things really start to cook. Sinister bends, changing tempos, and subtly complex drum work from Keegan Dennis mark the track as immediately different from the first half of the EP. After a false start, the band tears into a series of discordant riffs, pounding away all that came before. Bassist Jeb Laird provides a rock-solid foundation between the mid-range punch of Evans and Reid as they ditch thrash clichés and move closer to straight death metal territory. Especially after roughly twelve minutes of relatively straight-ahead thrash, it’s a fascinating contrast and one I can only hope they rely on more in the future.
Even clocking in at only 18 minutes, Judgement Day offers a glimpse of what might lie just over the horizon for Krvsade. If it’s anything like “The Key and the Gate,” I’m here for it.