Taking up their demonic root in 2001, Swedish blasters of underground blasphemy, Bastard Priest have fused the worlds of death metal mayhem and crust-punk attitude. The end result of that mutation is a fury so relentless in its aggression and down-right unholy fist-banging spirit, that one should be surprised that Bastard Priest doesn’t actually open up the abyss before them and swallow all in a churning death mosh of cross-crushing psychosis with horns aimed at the heavens all the while.
Under the Hammer of Destruction (Pulverized Records/Blood Harvest) is the debut full-length offering from Bastard Priest and the duo succeed in their apparent mission of thrashing-mad devastation with ease. Guitarist/vocalist, Inventor, and drummer Matt Mendoza unleash thirty-four minutes of pure, unadulterated torment upon our wretched souls in a way that is simply impossible not to embrace. The pacing of the songs found here replace blast-beat rage with an approach more akin to an early hardcore mindset. The guitar work has its claws buried deep in speed metal’s style of riffing. Any solos found on Under the Hammer of Destruction are short lived for the most part. But the record thrashes on at full-steam regardless, quickly laying waste to the idea of “more is better” with a bludgeoning no-frills assault of crust-smeared death. Clearly drawing inspiration from the likes of Autopsy, Nihilist or even some early Hellhammer on occasion, Bastard Priest launches their attack with eleven sonic explosions seemingly spawned from the bowels of Hell itself. The later half of Under the Hammer of Destruction are tracks found on the duo’s acclaimed 2008 cassette demo, Merciless Insane Death and fits seamlessly alongside the newer tracks, regardless of their more raw, abrasive quality. No matter their location on the record, songs like “Graveyard Sacrifice”, “Power of Death” and “Visions of Doom” (which is surely a highlight) keep the listener entranced in the thrash-infested storm, ready to slay the weak and eat them for breakfast. A flesh-ripping cover of “En Halsning fran Helvetet” (originally by Sweden’s crust/punk legends Bombanfall) closes out the chaos of Under the Hammer of Destruction in a traditionally abrupt, yet highly-effective, fashion at just under two minutes, making it the shortest track on the record.
So, rest up, vile demon horde! Bastard Priest is here to lead us all into the fire, taking no prisoners with their anarchic vision of destruction. With their debut full-length, the duo leaves no stone unturned in their quest to turn all opposition to dust. As the smoke clears, the record leaves the poser pile towering sky-high, as if to send a warning to the heavens that Bastard Priest are on their way to tear down the gates!