They may be fairly new to the scene having formed in 2016, but Polish Old School Death Metal outfit Chainsword are an exhilarating breath of fresh air in a genre which has often, of late, failed to impress me. Their debut full length ‘Blightmarch’ does an impressive job of injecting much needed new life, vigour and bile into the genre.
Chainsword – Blightmarch (Godz Ov War Productions)
Release Date: 27 February 2021
Words: Jools Green
Sound wise there is a defined Bolt Thrower influence, but it has been developed into something that Chainsword have already stamped their own mark on and then turbo charged with added gutsy Polish flair and brutality.
I can not fault any aspect of this album. On top of great composition and delivery they have made sure the tracks also received great production with every brutal element perfectly balanced. You can fully appreciate every performance aspect individually and as a whole, and the overall listen is mind-blowingly good.
If you think you like Old School Death Metal and are not impressed by this, check your pulse, you might have died and no one has told you.
The lyrical themes across the album are war based, some addressing historical events and others more esoteric in their content, delivered with a deathly mix of growls and acerbic screams from Herr Brummbär which sits well with the addictive meld of groove, technicality and engaging melody that makes up the core of these tracks.
‘Blightmarch’ is a ten-track offering that spans a chunky forty-two minutes and includes the second of their two previously released singles, ‘Dreadquake Mortar’, with its addictively groovy drive. This track features additional guitarwork from Piotr Sadza(Cheesy Dude) of Belzebong/Weedpecker and vocals from Lech Kowal (Nun) of Sun No More.
From the opening track ‘Ost Front 1943: Stalingrad’ which opens on an intense wave of dense riffing, the vocals rip through like a jagged blade. The drum work pounding and then there is the groovy but dark undercurrent, and this pretty much defines how each track is formulated.
Blistering listen end to end
‘Blightmarch’ is a blistering listen end to end. It takes no prisoners all the way through to the dark ‘06.08 09:15’, but more about that track later.
Other delights that await you on this listening journey are; the insane closing leadwork on ‘Spinehammer’, soaring leadwork that breaks free from the chaos in the latter part of ‘Horus, the Chosen Son’, then ‘Ost Front 1942: Moskau’ which has a sinister drive to open with dual layer vocals which, although more indecipherable here, ooze icy horror and balanced with soaring second half leadwork.
The up-tempo drive of ‘Dead Hand Call’ has complexly convoluted elements, squealing leads and haunting riffs compacted into less than four minutes. It is a sensory overload delight. It is followed by ‘Exterminatus’, with its dark haunting opener, succeeded by a chugging addictive groove and punctuated by dark second half leadwork. With the acerbic backing screams bolstering the lead growls, this is followed by the addictively driving, well vocalised ‘Daemonculaba’.
Album title track ‘Blightmarch’, which opens on the sound of marching, is a song which encapsulates in its lyrics the sheer futility of war, the lasting effects it has on the brave souls who fought for what they believed in and the harsh realities of what it actually entailed. It is musically and lyrically powerful and to the point.
The Enola Gay
Then there is that final piece, ‘06.08 09:15’ which is named after the date and time The Enola Gay [Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber], piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets and Robert A. Lewis, dropped the atomic bomb, named The Little Boy, on Hiroshima in 1945.
It took fifty-three seconds to fall from the aircraft …a powerful track in its own right, a little darker and starker than its predecessors, is made more eerie with the addition of the historical sound bites related to the event and the suspenseful closing segment of unnerving squealing strings and noise which culminates in a final soundbite speech the duration of which, together, is approximately fifty-three seconds.
Then one final burst of hellish riffing, drum work and growls, the final song lines
As I press the stopwatch
The skies are burning like molten led.”
I do not think an album closing track has impacted upon me quite as much as this has, encapsulating the horrors of such a catastrophic event so vividly. It is a hugely powerful and disturbingly moving end to a superb album.
‘Blightmarch’ was mixed, mastered and re-amped by Haldor Grunberg Satanic Audio with the drums recorded at Nebula Studio and vocals, guitars and bass recorded at Primate 666 Studio, during the cursed 2020.
Eye catching and colourful, complex artwork is by Wilson Germán Arrieta. It will be available as a CD or digital format from their Bandcamp page.
‘Blightmarch’ is a must have for all Old School Death Metal fans.
Listen to the full album stream below, and then buy it. You will not regret it!