Merge the ragged vocals of Immortal (albeit Immortal lite!), with the vibrancy of Midnight, Hellripper, and add in the extra spice of Night Slasher, a band from a country whose Metal scene may be less well known than many, and what you get is a nasty, raw, yet ferociously addictive Blackened Thrash that comes with absolutely no strings or fancy enhancements.
Night Slasher – Night Slasher (Sliptrick Records)
Release Date: 6 February 2024
Words: Paul Hutchings
Initially known as Alcotopia, the Lithuanians changed their name to Night Slasher in 2023 and, according to their biog, moved away from their original alco-thrash. Well, there are still bits of Tankard strewn across this album, but the Black Metal influences are more pronounced throughout.
The bass rumble and jagged riffs roar as Ice starts the album with a tempo that rarely slows. It’s a maelstrom of chaos, a blurring blend of influences that include Venom, Bathory, Kreator and Motörhead. Yes, it’s the Blackened Speed Metal that has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, but thankfully, Night Slasher have enough about them to throw in a few surprises and make this an album that fans of this genre should be keen to hear.
What hits your ears first is the quite unique vocals of Laurynas Karka. Full of energy, but with a croaky rasp that one will either warm to or scream, “Turn that off”. It’s a style that fits the music well, for despite the limitations, a soaring alto wouldn’t cut it on the raging torrent of Black Trip or the penultimate, doom-laden vibe of Towers.
It’s not all screaming, though, as the tone matches the pace of every song. The musicianship, despite its slightly pleasing, ragged approach, is well delivered, with the low end of Tomas Ivanovas’ bass lines deep enough to cause discomfort in the bowel region.
Guitarist Juozapas Bočkus brings an individual style that races along with some neat flashes, and it is all held together by the powerhouse drumming of Dmitrijus Matvejevas.
It’s not quite all breakneck riffing, though, with the haunting intro to Liver Ripper casting a dark shadow at a much slower speed, Sabbath-style riffs echoing through the speakers before it builds into a beastly song that explodes with visceral effect. And it is this slight variation on the standard themes that makes repeated listens of this album essential.
There are elements of traditional Metal lurking within the album, with a mix that allows each instrument air. Each song brings something a little different to the one before, as is the case on Pit Of Hate, which doesn’t do anything new but is done so well that you can’t help but like it.
Whilst Night Slasher conforms to many of the stereotypes of the genre, including enough studs and leather to fill a festival field, what they have brought here in their debut is plenty to get excited about. They move away from the more standardised Metal tropes of the genre, in the main, because of their groove-based approach, which sees plenty of melody surging through each track.
It’s fine to have a nasty edge, but you need a tune to hold it high. Even the finale, Satan In The Hall, possibly the release’s weakest song, is catchy enough to hold the attention.
Whether they can make any headway in another saturated market is questionable. But if you get excited by a genre that straddles history with contemporary sounds, then Night Slasher should be of interest.
Laurynas Karka – Vocals
Juozapas Bočkus – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Tomas Ivanovas – Bass/Backing Vocals
Dmitrijus Matvejevas – Drums