Havoc At The Midnight Hour

Dying Victims
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Onward to the Cemetery
02. Chains of Black Wrath
03. Turbo Evil
04. Land of No Return
05. Into the Nightmare
06. Vengeful One
07. Devil's Bastard
08. Seven Gates

Metalheads are well catered for these days. If you want to listen to bright and shiny modern stuff, there's plenty of that available, and, if you want to pretend that the '90s never happened, you can do that too. AGGRESSIVE PERFECTOR are firmly in the latter camp, of course: naming yourself after an early SLAYER song is a pretty firm signifier that these British dirt-merchants are old school to the bone. But while there are hundreds of bands around that borrow heavily from VENOM, TANK, ANGEL WITCH and their seminal ilk, precious few of them sound as utterly immersed in the spirit of that bygone era as this lot. And yes, that artwork is pretty much irresistible too. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

If any doubts remain that this is (a) the real deal and (b) a cut above the rest, opener "Onward to the Cemetery" hammers AGGRESSIVE PERFECTOR's conviction and credentials to the nearest tree and then chops the fucker down for kicks. The execution is furious and raw – that VENOM influence in full effect – while the riffs and refrains are strong enough to butt heads with those revered originals. "Chains of Black Wrath" is almost indecently exciting: it rattles along at a speedy MOTÖRHEAD clip before changing pace and clicking into snotty D-beat mode, as vocalist General Holocausto snarls and shrieks with psychotic abandon. "Turbo Evil" is a refined mid-tempo riot, as catchy as anything from the NWOBHM-era but subtly infused with 35 years of sonic nastiness. Elsewhere, "Into the Nightmare" brings a dash of mutant macabre to the party, via some SLAYER-saluting discord and a dizzying succession of riffs. Halfway through the song, a sinister hush descends, before AGGRESSIVE PERFECTOR click back into gear, furiously channeling CRONOS and whipping up a whirlwind of ugly metal bombast. Even better, "Devil's Bastard" fires up the speed metal Landcruiser and floors the accelerator for four minutes of blistering, black-hearted rock 'n' roll. You can almost smell the piss-stained denim and petrol fumes.

If "Havoc…" had been released in 1981, it may well have been hailed as a classic. In 2019, it's still just about as exhilarating as these retro-minded enterprises ever get. Killer songs, attitude by the ton, and a general helping of old-school horror schlock? Nothing to dislike here, folks.

Author: Dom Lawson
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