FAST RITES: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
Agent Steel fans rejoice. Black Cyclone is here: a thrash-by-way-of-speed-metal band from Sweden with their self-released debut album, Death Is King. Having released two demos in 2012 and 2013 respectively, the band was joined by Trial frontman Linus Johansson in 2016. Metal Archives lists the band’s early days as black metal, so I’m assuming Johansson’s addition has a lot to do with the direction of the band to a more traditional thrash/speed style.
The first thing that jumps out on Death Is King is the soaring vocals of Johansson, landing somewhere between the prolonged wails of Agent Steel’s John Cyriis and the half-singing/half-barking of Hirax’s Katon W. de Pena. Johansson is well aware of this and seems to love throwing “unstoppable force” into the lyrics whenever possible. The music itself is more comparable to the latter of the two bands, with the riffing more on the aggressive, thrash side of the spectrum. At times the guitars flirt with a bit of a black/thrash style (album closer “this is it” features a tremolo riff that distantly brings Craven Idol to mind). The production is clean without sounding sterile; Death Is King embraces modern recording techniques without going overboard on the studio magic. This helps tracks like “Falling Star” shine as Johansson wails over the building, anthemic riffs.
As direct as Black Cyclone’s influences may seem, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the band is that they hold their own and deliver their music with confidence, resulting in a strong, well-written, well-produced release. It may not be pushing the style to new heights or exploring uncovered terrain (say it with me: “It doesn’t need to”); the road they speed down is certainly well traversed, but Black Cyclone navigate it with full-throttle precision.
Release date: January 8, 2018. Label: self-released.