Published Jan 30, 2020From the outside, North Carolina's Krvsade looks like a Christian-themed metal band: superior, misspelled-on-purpose band moniker; excellent Judgement Day album title; and thought-provoking album art by 15th century German painter Stefan Lochner, depicting the end-of-days battle between angels and demons.
The name Krvsade sounds like a second-stage band for an imaginary R.E.X. Music festival featuring Believer, Tourniquet and Circle of Dust. Far from the Sacrament scene, however, these Charlotte-based youths play Carcass-inspired thrash that has earned them opening slots for Uada, Inquisition and Nervosa.
After their three-song Militum Infernum EP back in 2017, the band weathered a major lineup shift: guitarist Andre Evans took over lead vocals from Robert Davis, and new bassist Jeb Laird and guitarist Arthur Reid round out Krvsade 2.0. If Davis's vocals on Militum Infernum resembled a cross between Asphyx's Martin van Druren and Morgoth's Marc Grewe, then Evans' vocals are a more growly Jeff Walker, and the Carcass worship is no more evident than on the snarling title track: short (under four minutes), razor-sharp and jarringly shocking.
"Keep It in the Church" addresses Southerners' biases to judge people for their life choices, warning them not to project their attitudes onto others. The song traverses many mood and tempo changes, from a Slayer-esque gallop to the more deliberate chorus breaks and the dizzying, Kerry King-like guitar solos. Like death metal debuts from the early '90s, the drums could be tighter in the title track and the complex "The Key and the Gate," though the timing mistakes are quite charming and show the band's human fallibility and enthusiasm in tackling intricate rhythms and arrangements.
"The Key and the Gate" is the standout track here for its fretboard pyrotechnics and progressive tendencies, akin to a metal adaptation of Rush's "The Camera Eye." If the band can fine-tune their timing issues, then their forthcoming full-length will unquestionably turn heads and snap necks. Regardless, Krvsade stand poised to seize the rusty metal crown of the Queen City, as there is a conscious malignancy lurking in the depths of their songwriting, waiting to rear its hideous head. (Independent)