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The Merciless
(Tyrant Syndicate / Peaceville Records)

I remember that the so-called "Black Thrash" sound was very popular some years ago and a considerable number of bands appeared defending the spirit of early VENOM, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, HELLHAMMER and POISON (to name a few). Some of them were extremely ridiculous while others have been actually persuasive. One of the latter was - and still is - Norway's AURA NOIR. When I first heard about them I thought that they were one of those pseudo-revivalists of the good old German Thrash Metal sound but my opinion changed completely after I listened to their killer "Black Thrash Attack" album released in 1996 by mighty Malicious Records (I didn't have the chance to listen to their "Dreams Like Deserts" EP by then - released by Hot Records). I admit that I didn't like that much their "Deep Tracts Of Hell" album released two years after by Hammerheart and I was slightly indifferent to their "Increased Damnation" compilation (released in 2000 by Hammerheart again). Still I was hoping that these guys were going to return with an album worthy of their reputation. Hopefully "The Merciless" is (for me at least) their best attempt since "Black Thrash Attack". This album is full of pure blackened Thrash riffs that pay tribute to their "ancient" influences. Their sound has not changed a lot from what you know since all usual AURA NOIR elements are present like the short, simple Black / Thrash riffs with some mesmerizing moments, the mid-tempo speeds, and the typical suffocating atmosphere. Plus they have a good production that helps them capture the right mood for their thrashing sound. Overall this is another good album from the band that already has a strong and loyal fan base. Do you need to learn more?,

Manolis A.

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