BLACK RIVER “Generation Axe”

By Dr. Abner Mality

This record is one of the angriest and most nihilistic of the year despite the fact that it is far more commercial than any death, black or thrash metal. I’ve rarely heard a band that has a more bleak and hopeless view of the future than this Polish outfit, which contains members of BEHEMOTH and DIMMU BORGIR.

BLACK RIVER launches 11 rapid-fire attacks here, with barely any time to breathe. Although this isn’t a true punk rock album, it operates like one. The songs are all short and fast, full of rage and vitriol. The first three cuts “Oxygen”, “Joker” and “Whiplash” slap you across the face...there’s metal, there’s hyped up “action rock”, there’s punk, there’s even the angrier side of modern radio rock. The more commercial aspects come in some of the vocal melodies, especially on “Under My Flag”, “Civil Army” and “Crossover Love”. I have to admit, some of the chorus don’t really jibe with the rest of the music. But it’s all so fast and urgent, you don’t have time to get bored or pick a bone.

Lots of stinging guitar solos pepper the album, with few lasting over a handful of seconds. Vocals are all over the place, with angry roars and clean shouts mixing with tuneful crooning. I suspect either multiple singers are at work...or the one vocalist is supremely talented. One track that kind of falls flat is their cover of THE DOORS’ “Break On Through”, which doesn’t really work.

The lyrics on this are really hopeless and angry and somehow that seeps into the rest of BLACK RIVER. This is violent rock for violent people!