“Exterminans: IX-XI”

By Dr. Abner Mality

A deft mixture of death and black metal is always something I can sink my fangs into. Spain’s Tsar Bomb was unknown to me prior to this, but they’ve whipped up a pretty brutal batch of tunes here.

The duo do nothing you haven’t heard before, but they master their chosen field. A listen to this will bring names like Belphegor, Nile, Marduk and Immolation to mind. It’s pretty epic sounding stuff, with lots of Latin terminology being tossed around…always a good move if you’re looking to sound “evil”. After a rather awkward intro where piano uneasily mixes with crunching death metal, “Ad Majoram Legio Gloriam” shows they aren’t fucking around. Super-fast guitar runs with machine gun drumming and hoarse vocals. Derivative, but it gets better. The title track ups the speed and brutality and then “Septem Tonitrua” has a healthy dose of Middle Eastern sounding riffing, which is where comparisons to Nile come in. That has always been a sound I’ve enjoyed. The guitars are sometimes down-tuned, sometimes very trebly in black metal fashion.

The intensity does not lessen up, as “Caustic Blessing” and the excellent “Mikaheylel” feature more intense harmonic ripping ala Belphegor. The production is generally sound although the drums aren’t the most versatile I’ve heard.

If you dig blackened death, Tsar Bomb is ready to explode all over your helpless brain…