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Review: Thallium - Armanenschaft

Label: Hammer of Damnation
Year released: 2008
Duration: 39:43
Tracks: 8
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: March 13, 2011
Reviewed by: Memnarch
Readers Rating

Rated 3/5 (60%) (1 Vote)

Thallium is a rather mysterious project from which the only member, Warwolf, also contributes to the vastly overrated Brazilian act Evil. What it is about South American black metallers and their penchant for national socialist ideologies I'll never know, but they seem to be everywhere at the minute and are hard to avoid. The majority of them are absolute shit, but occasionally you do get the odd one who's worth their salt. Thallium happen to be one of them, and while being nothing revolutionary, does bring to the table an intriguing take on the notorious sound from the early nineties Polish scene from bands such as Graveland, Infernum and Veles.

With a title such as Armanenschaft and the works of Guido Von List as the pool of inspiration for this release, you can hazard a guess at what the lyrical content is, but regardless of ideologies Armanenschaft is for the most part a fairly competent piece of work but at times suffers from almost over-ambition and lack of ideas which is evident in the similarity of all the tracks bar "Eagle's Eye" and the throwaway interludes which serve no practical purpose whatsoever. This can be forgiven to an extent though as Darken's work is extremely hard to emulate with only a handful of bands such as Nachtfalke ever producing anything of note.

As Thallium is a one-man project, Warwolf handles all the instruments and does so sufficiently well, the guitar isn't focused on technicality, Warwolf utilizes simple repetitive riffing which is raw yet retains a crude sort of melody and when combined with the interwoven keys similar to those that appear on Following the Voice of Blood, culminate in an emphatic atmosphere of victory and ascendancy. Exactly the sound Warwolf was aiming for I'd imagine, and is Armanenschaft's forte. "Our Dreams Belongs(sic) to the Stars" is testament to this with its surging riffs and reckless drumming closing off in stunning fashion with a passage even Rob would be proud of himself. Unfortunately the rest of the album doesn't quite scale these peaks again but "Eagle's Eye" is a welcomed change in tempo, setting brutality levels to eleven with persistent blasting and wretched vocals. Warwolf's vocals are well performed though lack bite due to the large amount of processing used on them. They remind me more of Nazgul of Satanic Warmaster fame than the obvious choices on show.

Armanenschaft does contain some fatal flaws though. As previously stated the lack of variation and Intro/Outro and "II" which serve no conceivable purpose whatsoever other than to fill up space, and the production. The production is ragged and awkward and sucks the life out of what would otherwise be a couple of outstanding tracks. At times the music sounds like it's just going to collapse in around its foundations, lacking an overall tightness holding it all together and would benefit from a lot more presence in the vocal department. Setting these predicaments aside though, Armanenschaft is still an enjoyable release, not least because it's from a style of Black Metal which seems to be waning. Thallium is not ever going to win any awards for technicality but that's not where this records vision lies. There's still a fair way to go yet before getting anywhere near the imperialistic sound of Graveland, but it's still a laudable effort indeed.

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