BLACK MASS – “Feast at the Forbidden Tree”

by Thor

The New England three-headed thrash monster known as BLACK MASS returns with “Feast at the Forbidden Tree” – a new full-length out now from Redefining Darkness Records.

This album marks the first time your humble critic’s had the opportunity to listen to BLACK MASS. My first impression is that they’re extremely good at what they do. What’s that, you shout, impatiently? Well, it’s what shall be known henceforth as NWOAGTM – or – New Wave of American German Thrash Metal. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

BLACK MASS unabashedly plunge a wide-gauge, large-diameter, bacteria-encrusted syringe deep into that feted vein of mid-80s German thrash metal and draw out the bulk of their evil aesthetic. They’re un-dead ringers for the style of metal first typified by bands like SODOM and KREATOR back when Mary Lou Retton was out-backflipping suckas for the gold.

On “Feast at the Forbidden Tree,” guitarist/vocalist Brendan O'hare wails like a banshee treading inside a deep well of cacophonous reverb, or he’s simply doing a very good Mille Petrozza impression. The ghosts of King Diamond and Cronos may whisper in your ears, here, too, which is especially weird since they’re both alive as of press time. Mr. O’hare purges his vocal demons over the top of classically melodic, satanic-sounding thrash riffs – the kind SLAYER tried to play on “Show No Mercy” – and the truly fantastic drumming and bass playing of Alex Fewell and Cristian Azevedo respectively. All these components are blackened just a touch which seems to glue them together.

The objective truth is that on “Feast at the Forbidden Tree,” BLACK MASS sound exactly the way they most assuredly intended to. It’s SODOM/KREATOR/VENOM/KING DIAMOND worship at its most pious and it slays. If this is your thing, you can’t go wrong. And as someone who’s not always fond of this particular style, it’s done so well here that BLACK MASS may have made a believer out of me too.