By Dr. Abner Mality

Looks like these guys are serious about the black metal biz. I thought their excellent debut "Time Insults The Mind" might have been a one-off for the New York based guys who had strong roots in hardcore. Happily, I am proven wrong: "Triumvirate" is a fine follow-up that shows they're committed to the dark and chilly side of metal.

The album has a very traditional sound and also is a logical sequel to "Time Insults the Mind". Black Anvil doesn't have an avant-garde take on BM, yet they do know enough to vary things and toss in little surprises now and then. Cuts like "What Is Life If Life Not Now", "Angels To Dust" and "Scalping" all start in blazing whiplash fashion, offering plenty of speed and scalding harsh vocals. But each of them takes a turn into moodier, more mid-tempo territory, churning out some hypnotic slow riffs and freezing melodies. They don't shy away from complexity, but they manage to avoid symphonic, overdone tunes...I like the way "Dead And Left" splices in some very cool, almost epic medium fast riffs...they really stick in the brain. Album ending "With Transparent Blood" is pretty adventurous and features more of those droning, catchy riffs. The album is not revolutionary enough to be truly ground-breaking, but it is extremely listenable and can appeal to a wide variety of fans.

With "Time Insults The Mind", Black Anvil hinted they might be a force in American black metal. With "Triumvirate", they confirm that assumption.