Review: “Elder Sun” by Dizastra

It seems like we’ve had to wait forever and a day for the debut full length album from Montreal Canada Blackened Thrashers Dizastra. We’ve been following them since their debut EP “Hell’s Gate” which appeared back in 2015 and while a line up change seemed to hold them back, this past summer saw them let a music video for “Vae Victus” out of the bag. An anthem to riding a dragon through Hades, the track combines all the elements of what makes their brand of Heavy Metal what it is by bringing together shrieking vocals, pummeling drums, thunderous bass and some electrifying solos. So it’s time for “Elder Sun” to shine.

Pietro Giampa (Drums), Denis Stoisin (Lead Guitar), Nathan Afilalo (Bass), Matteo Conti (Guitar/Vocals) put the pedal to the Metal for “Vae Victus”, as you might expect, they’re hungry to get the album of 4 years work off the ground. The opening track is a blistering affair that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, a reminder of classic Metal bands of yesterday with sharp, modern production and a clean crisp sound. Conti’s vocals a suitably vicious, his storytelling style a pleasant relief from some of the introspection of other vocalists. The “Go!” moment before a ripping solo tells you what time it is. “Piercing The Veil” is a track we know, it appeared alongside a cover is “Show No Mercy” by Slayer in December 2018 and is a fine Thrash-ter-piece with a neat whammy bar drop moment as it rages though at breakneck pace. The closing line of “Why don’t you f*** off and die?” is just hilariously good fun. “Dead ov Night” sees those Norwegian Black Metal influences enter the fray with some Blackened Thrash riffs, epic grandeur lead flourishes and an extended turn around. The false ending burst into life with an big tempo shift before a gang chant is an adrenaline injection of sheer class. Dueling axes in the solo are just the icing on the cake.

A speech sample introduces “Second Coming” giving the music a chance to breathe while building a sense of tension. The lyrics include the album title in their dark perilous waters which means no title track as such and as the shroud of darkness descends with a harmonious and haunting lead flourish building upon an already brilliant riff pattern there is a sense of wonder. They’ve outdone themselves as each track builds upon the last with a steady momentum. “Mourning Wars” is no slouch either, talking of warriors coming from the East to destroy our culture amid a set of pummelling rhythms and even a marching beat at one point. That classic “ooh” followed by a tempo change up is a throwback of nostalgic joy before a blast beat battering ram hammers against your skull. “Gnosis” is the knowledge of spiritual mysteries and it solos before it gets into the verse, letting the throttle out as it gets progressively faster as it flows through. The fingers will have been bleeding after some of the breakneck riffing and sublime solo work on this one.

As explosion and rumble brings in “The Last Stand” that has a haunting quality that summons the end. A symphony of guitars bring to mind the classic parts of the late 80’s Megadeth with the likes of “Darkest Hour” seemingly being paid tribute to. It’s no ballad or shrinking violet though and has enough of its own thing going to keep the thrill ride firmly on track. “Astaroth” is a dark overlord that wants to paint the World crimson with some eerie atmospheric guitars in a Blackened rise and fall dynamic. “To kill or be killed is the way of the night” and this prayer to the Demonic being has a suitably Demonic vocal. It’s haunting final flourish after a false ending, picking up first acoustics and then electrics to build up a rich tapestry of instrumental bridge coupled with a pair of fine solos is Metal craftsmanship at its finest. It ends as you would expect a live show to before the piano introduction of “Terminus Est” brings some Children Of Bodom sounds to the table with some bright flowing guitars and a surprise synth part that we didn’t see coming. It’s a Cinematic score moment in grand fashion to close an album instrumentally in the most unexpected way [8/10]

Track listing

1. Vae Victus (5:24)
2. Piercing The Veil (4:04)
3. Dead ov Night (4:55)
4. The Second Coming (7:13)
5. Mourning Wars (5:28)
6. Gnosis (4:37)
7. The Last Stand (6:01)
8. Astaroth (7:23)
9. Terminus Est (Instrumental) (5:11)

Elder Sun” by Dizastra is out 22nd November. In theory, it will be available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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