Strigoi – ‘Abandon All Faith’

By Liam Knowles

Strigoi is a brand new project from Greg Mackintosh and Chris Casket, both of whom have spent time in notable heavy bands like Paradise Lost, Vallenfyre and Extreme Noise Terror. From this pedigree alone, you’re right to expect something visceral and intense, but what you won’t expect is how FUN this debut record is. ‘Abandon All Faith’ blends blackened crust punk with classic thrash and death metal to create an intense 45 minutes that will bludgeon you relentlessly, and you will bloody well enjoy it.

The album opens with ‘The Rising Horde’, a building wall of tortured sound that leads into ‘Phantoms’. This first proper song takes the first minute or so to build further, layering sinister lead guitar lines on top of blistering blastbeats, before the low, almost demonic growled vocals come in with the opening line of ‘There is no heaven, there is only hell.’ So far, so bleak, but then at the track’s halfway point you’re hit with a chugged thrash riff that honestly, if you wanted to, you could two-step to. Quite a lot of this album feels like a call to seriously let loose in a crowd; it’s a complex mix of various extreme influences but there’s something about it that feels very digestible right from the first listen, and those are the kinds of bands that don’t struggle to get people going in a live environment. In particular, it’s easy to imagine an eager crowd roaring back the lyrics of ‘Iniquitous Rage’ whilst fighting their way to the front of a packed-out sweatbox venue. The riffs are solid throughout, especially on the excellent ‘Scorn Of The Father’, and whilst most of the album is fairly pacey it also does occasionally slow down, such as on the title track which is almost seven minutes of pure sludge, helped along in no small part by the thick, grimy production.

This album is quite overtly and unapologetically METAL, which might put off people who want their extreme music a little more pretentious and arty, but if you’re a fan of the All Pigs Must Die approach of “thrash first, ask questions later”, then Strigoi have a circle pit waiting with your name on it.

LIAM KNOWLES

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