Sometimes Iím taken aback and I have to stop buying records for a while and consider the musical validity or significance of retro black/thrash. I mean, what exactly is the bloody point of a bunch of longhairs recycling 80s riffs and attitude for a bunch of kids who have never heard Sodom or Kreator before, while defaming the original memories of the bands by stealing whole riffs while not adding any of their own passion into the music? Beats me. I have begun to spawn a deep hatred for bands who just walk the walk, and donít have the musical bite to back themselves up, or the true-blue metallic attitude, resorting to thrashing out songs with little to no passion or a deeper desire than making money from the rampant trend.

With that said, it is with great pleasure that I say that Morningstar are one of the few standing flag bearers of unwaveringly staunch, defiant, non-conformist METAL.

Flared, drunken and with true attitude to boot, this is mindless, octane, yet musically proficient thrash/power metal with Quorthon-esque barks, and boy does it kick some serious booty. Full of references to the earliest Bathory, Venom, the more rocky and riff-laden moments of Celtic Frost and several nods to Motorhead and Razor, Morningstar has disowned any hints of black metal beyond the music, and refuse to replicate Kreator and Hellhammer like the rest of the thrash brigade. For that alone they deserve much credit and kudos, not to mention the band members have the politically incorrect good taste to wear Running Wild and Morbid Angel (Abominations of Desolation, no doubt) shirts on the back cover.

Everything is kept to a bare minimum, no flashy crash accents or unnecessary fills, efficient, chugging riffs that come in mountain-sized packets with the occasional short solo pops it head out from the speed metal carnage.

Admittedly, these Finns are so stuck in the past youíd need a 4 by 4 crowbar to wedge them out of their delusions, but they riff and bark out every note and nuance that it just seems so easy to just forget and headbang. One complaint though: in the lyrics, it is obvious that these guys have an obsession with the shade of black , leather and spikes, why then, are they never decked in that attire in any of the 190029407 pictures on the back cover and in the sleeve? Beats me. Anyhow, this is top class, *essential* blackened thrash metal that truly ranks alongside the likes of Scepter , Desaster and Warhammer. Definitely worth your attention, and assuredly devoid of the trends and farce that have ridden this genre for years.


© 2000 equimanthorn