[Cover art by Karmazid]
You’ve surely heard of SyFy’s Sharknado franchise of “films,” presumably in which tornados carry sharks into human settlements to add some apex predator chomp chomp to all the weather-related madness. I say “presumably” because I personally have not seen any of these flicks, but the name really seems to say it all. In the tradition of two-great-destructors-that-destruct-better-together, allow me to introduce you to a volcano that spews out both lava and razor blades. We’ll call it “Volcazor” or “Razcano” or something. Whatever. Neither the name nor the plausibility are important. What matters is the visceral reaction one might have to a threat both molten and surgically sharp.
…especially if you came up on subgenre pioneers Aura Noir. With their tendency towards sassy, spiraling, shreddy riffs and a whole bunch of reverb in the maniacal vocals, Daeva taps into Aura Noir’s feral side better than most other acts playing this style, but takes the violence further through an even greater dedication to relentless blasting and riff complexity. A notably mean spirited attitude permeates the album, most effectively communicated by a varied vocal attack that ranges from throat shredding screams to something resembling Attila Csihar doing his best impression of low range King Diamond (“Arena at Dis”). It’s also a touch raw, but effectively so, giving a set of extremely busy songs just the edge they need to stay dirty without ever muddying up the tones.
The busier approach and complexity are how Daeva really separates from the crowd. A track like “Loosen the Tongue of the Dead” amps up the intensity, with speed picking occurring at near-Rigor Mortis tempos at certain times, while at others the whole band whiplashes into a pounding or provides something with a touch more space (and eeriness). This bit of variety is a key to the record. For example, “Polluting the Sanctuary (Revolutions Against Faith)” has the kind of spryness that you’d expect from modern Satan albums, just filtered through the intensity of someone like Azarath. But like most songs it changes gear, this time into something a bit more melodic and “epic,” at which time bassist Frank Chin gets a moment to shine.
Even the supposedly less nutty parts of “Fragmenting in Ritual Splendor” ‒ right after a white hot guitar solo from Steve Jansson ‒ keep the riffs complex while Enrique Sagarnaga’s ride cymbal tings ensure the sass lever lets up. Such cool little moments never let up ‒ heaps of trills and moshable thrash, the hip-shaking shuffle in “Itch of the Bottle,” touches of atmosphere, the Show No Mercy-isms of “The Architect and the Monument,” dissonant hooks, etc. ‒ ensuring that you’re always extremely entertained while also holding some anticipation for whatever killer part is about to follow.
Ludicrously riffy, preposterously charismatic, and unrelentingly violent, Through Sheer Will and Black Magic is a wickedly fun slab of blackened thrash that is as loaded with details as it is lacking in pretension. Like the best bands playing this stuff, Daeva manages to play controlled chaos without sounding under control, but rather animalistic and murderous in their intent, as it should be. Hit play, get sliced up by thousands of lavablades, rinse, repeat.