It looks like I’m going to be staying in Europe for a while, as I turn from Sweden and set my sights on Belgium, a country pretty underrepresented in the metal scene, all told. They’re smack in the middle of one of the most metal-concentrated areas on the planet in terms of geography, but how many Belgian metal bands can you think of? Evil Invaders, I guess? Aborted? Ancient Rites? Certainly a far cry from the mecca-next-door that is Germany, that’s for sure. That was the main reason I took an interest in Terrifant here, because who knows, maybe the country has a gem just getting ready to break out here?
Fuckin’ HA, let’s say no, that’s not happening yet. I hate to be that guy, but I have to get it out of the way before anything else: Terrifant’s self-titled debut is loaded with six great original tunes (plus an instrumental opener and a Pat Benatar cover) that are completely destroyed by a comically bad vocal performance. I want to tell you about the exuberant adrenaline on tracks like “Metal and More” and “Speedline” and how the guitarists are phenomenal shredders with an excellent sense of melodic phrasing. I want to tell you how this is an excellent throwback to middle-European speed metal-like early Blind Guardian and Helloween with a huge helping of the Canadian brand like Exciter and Razor, but I just can’t. For as great of a throwback style as this is (shamelessly uncreative and retro it may be), this is rendered damn near fucking unlistenable by Lord Terrifant’s pitiful and incessant wailing. I swear he never goes more than a full minute after the intro track without pelting your ears with needled shit. He’s almost entirely amelodic, which I think is supposed to recall the sleazier elements of 80s metal with a sort of rock-n-roll brazenness and dearth of fucks to give about technical proficiency. But, as a result, you just get constantly assaulted with childish squealing that sounds four octaves too high. It’s Damien Storm level, I’m not even kidding. It’s tragic because I genuinely do think the music is great, but the vocals completely ruin the experience. It could be mitigated if he was at least charismatic, but he’s not, he’s just annoying. I can’t even show you guys how bad it is since the band (wisely) has no preview tracks on the internet right now. In lieu of an advance single: here’s Vince Neil’s infamous “drive through the footy car chub a bee” performance, because really it’s close enough.
The promo blurb offhandedly mentions, “Combining the worst elements with the filthiest attitudes from their respective record collections…” but I don’t think they have any idea how on the nose that is. This piss-awful “Axl Rose meets Bon Scott with no grit and even less charisma” impression utterly ruined an album I would confidently rate at a B grade or higher here. There’s real potential to break into the throwback scene that Enforcer has spent the last decade dominating, but it’s not going to happen while they proudly push to the forefront what is by far the worst element of the band. I wish I didn’t feel the need to spend so much time on the vocals, but that’s going to be the only element that sticks with you. If the sound of a human power drill appeals to you, give this a go, but I know I’m going to be avoiding this band like they have lice for the foreseeable future.
Terrifant will be released on February 21st through Gates of Hell Records, but damn yo, I really do not recommend buying it one bit.