Out To Die
26 March 2012
“The ugliest band is the world is back!” screams the sticker on the front of Aura Noir’s latest, Out To Die. Seems a little mean. Agressor and chums may not be gracing the cover of Men’s Health any time soon, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some dudes in folk bands who are far more facially unfortunate.
Oh, I see. They’re saying Aura Noir are musically ugly? Nice try, marketing sticker guy. But that’s nothing but hyperbole, as Out To Die is actually pretty tuneful. It’s not exactly smooth jazz, but as far as blackthrash goes, it’s pretty easy on the ears. It is, dare I say it, in fact lighter than their previous albums. And that’s Quite possibly because Aura Noir have gone very old school with this one.
Where as previous Aura Noir albums grab old school Kreator and Sodom and just slap corpsepaint all over them (to great effect though, I might add), this album goes even further back. It looks to the same inspirations as extreme music’s founding fathers – Motörhead and Venom, and eschews complexity in favour of sheer, simple, poundings. That isn’t to say the band’s influences are so easy to pin down that Out To Die becomes a direct homage – but it feels like Aura Noir have been blasting Bomber and Black Metal non-stop before they sat down to write this album.
‘Abbadon’, with it’s Bay Area middle eight, and galloping riffs is wonderfully old school. ‘The Grin From The Gallows’ (great title) has a fantastic ‘At War With Satan’-style intro, and some of the most Motörhead-y vocals you could expect without bringing Lemmy in himself. It also keeps the speed down, at contrast with pretty much the whole album, making it effectively creepy. The title track which closes the album is just anger and spite – both drums and guitars threatening to go out of control at any second.
Production wise, it’s actually kind of clean, which is something of a surprise. I expected the recorded-in-the-woods vibe to be all over this, but there is good separation of instruments (even if personally I would’ve liked to hear a bit more low end). Vocally, it does range from fairly full-on death growls (of the old school Swedish style) to the aforementioned Lemmy-isms, but it remains consistently bile-filled and aggressive throughout.
This is a very solid, deliberately old school album – it’s not subtle in any way, and those with more nuanced tastes may find it a little bit simplistic. But if you’re the kind of person with a skull airbrushed on the back of your biker jacket, this would make an excellent addition to your collection. On vinyl, of course.
Sounds Like: Venom, Goatwhore.
Standout Tracks: Abbadon, The Grin From The Gallows, Trenches.