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On disc: Spearhead

Theomachia - Mike Thompson - 10 stars


(Agonia Records - 2011)

Spearhead is a blackened death metal band and Theomachia is the band's third full-length album, following on from the acclaimed 2007 effort Decrowning The Irenarch. The UK extreme metal scene has seen something of a resurgence of late with a good amount of high quality metal – mostly pagan black – being released. Does Spearhead's third album live up to this higher benchmark?

The music contained herein brings to mind great British death metal like Bolt Thrower and Benediction but with a good helping of Aussie overlords Deströyer 666 and the likes. The sound is brutal but with enough of a melody to catch the ear, the riffs full, crushing and pleasing and the songs are all phenomenal slabs of merciless blackened death metal.

The drumwork on the album has been provided by ex-Belphegor skin-thumper Torturer and his blasting provides a suitably militant sounding backdrop to the destruction wrought by the guitars and the vocals. Vocalist / bassist Barghest has a gloriously well-rounded growl that is both brutal and yet easy to understand. Its a match made in hell as it fits perfectly with the music in the same way that Karl Willets' growl goes with the music of Bolt Thrower.

With this album Spearhead should cement a place as one of the UK's best extreme metal bands. Simply put, they have put together an absolute belter of an album that I just haven't been able to get out of my head! When I put it on I feel like I have to listen to it at least three times to do it justice! To my shame I've never heard a Spearhead album before Theomachia but if this is a reflection of the previous work then I will be purchasing the back-catalogue very soon. One of the best albums released this year so far.

10 stars

Mike Thompson


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