Hailing from São Paolo in Brazil, Power from Hell have been around since 2001, notorious for their anti-Christian and BDSM-inspired Black Thrash with record titles like ‘Sadismo’ (2007), ‘Spellbondage’ (2009) and ‘Lust and Violence’ (2011). While their previous records, such as the EP ‘Molesting the Holy Virgin’ (2015) and the full-length ‘Devil’s Whorehouse’ (2015) make it hard to discern whether the band’s recurring sexist themes are mere provocation and criticism of the church, or more serious, the new record seems to follow a new direction. With the cover being epically atmospheric and less overtly filled with naked female bodies, we already get the hang of the more cosmic perspective the band deals with in the lyrics on this album (maybe not quite so much with the music video of Lucy’s Curse, though). Maybe the Brazilian musicians have matured a little – with regards to the highly cohesive and well-produced 43 minutes of mysterious Black Thrash, they certainly have to an impressive extent. So let’s take a closer look at the eleven tracks.
Nightmare makes a beautiful and creepily atmospheric 2-minute intro including guitar picking and sonorously dark spoken word, and prepares us for When the Night Falls, a track with characteristic thrashy drum rhythms at a balanced pace, filthy and hallowing growls like straight from the crypt and the first taste of a complex blackened sound. Bright guitar accents on the higher notes evoke associations to Icelandic sound aesthetics such as Misþyrming ‘s or Sinmara‘s, and a doomier half-tempo passage entrances the listener like a dark spell. Overall, this tune provides a perfect combination of rawness and just the right amount of flipped-tombstones-on-a-churchyard atmosphere.
Next up is False Puritan Philosophies, delivering epic slow chord strikes for a start. Then, however, we get straight into a double bass assault with a general focus on the lower sound registers. We get a bit of Mgła aesthetics on the melodic guitars, showcasing the balanced production of the high notes without any shrillness.
Lust … Sacrilege & Blood makes track number four and provides typical Black Thrash. A Highlight is the quite epic break with ice-cold spoken word creeping down the spine like an amplified vile whisper until we get back into the black-thrashy vein of the song with fast dissonant shredding.
Nocturnal Desire spots chaotic and rhythmically interesting riffs with embedded frantic trills. We soon move into a more carried tempo developing the already established themes, with, however, a stronger focus on vocals before the tune finishes along the lines of its beginning.
Unholy Dimension shines with an effective rhythmic interplay of forward-bursting and hurried low guitar melodies and the usual bellowing vocals, nice halt-tempo passages with lots of cymbals and guitar shreds moving to higher octaves. Intermittently, the focus is left on the simple yet classic drums and vocals only before closing off with full fast madness including a howling solo that does not drag itself out for too long again. The track is over before it gets old, which keeps things interesting.
Lucy’s Curse is off to a slower start, with a tightly packed soundscape characterised by an atmospheric fullness of the overall sound. The Polish and Icelandic character of guitar sound works effectively in the darkly melodic guitar accents over otherwise quite understated riffing over which the vocals do in fact appear like a curse.
Diabolical Witchcraft sets in like a beatiful dark dream with softened and echoing guitars before slowly merging into a dissonant riffing onslaught that has an entrancing yet primally agressive quality, again a very tension-raising use of half-tempo and screams touching the marrow with their intensity, systematic chaos of sounds, great contrast and combination of the raw drumming and more epic and space-claiming guitar sound the slow melodic distorted guitar picking seems a little out of place
High guitar tremolos make up for a wholly different soundscape in Into the Sabbath, whereas the drumming strongly appears to serve as the foundation keeping the entire album cohesive as a whole as well as true to Thrash aesthetics.
Elizabeth Needs Blood is off to a more carried yet mighty start; the story-telling quality of the vocals that continues through about half of the track, making way for more fast-thrashing passages including all the cymbals again. These are, fittingly, combined with classic raw Black Metal riffing incorporating some more contemporary melodic elements.The use of fade-out works especially well here as a hoarse and drawn out scream introduces the last track Demons of the Night. The guitars fade in way in the background. This tune appears quite unfussed and straight-forwardly dark and aggressive, making a simple and satisfying end to a sinisterly atmospheric record.