Classic Review: Black Shepherd “Immortal Aggression” [Punk Etc.]

Classic Review: Black Shepherd “Immortal Aggression” [Punk Etc.]

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Score 86%
Summary
86 %
User Rating : 4.7 (1 votes)

Released under the Punk Etc discographic seal, Black Shepherd‘s debut and only album surpassed the thrash metal concept by far. It is more a straightforward first wave black metal release in the vein of the Brazilian juggernauts (namely, Sarcofago and Sexthrash) combined with what is seemingly a sort of Slayer and early-Sodom moments. Moreover, the lyrics’ subject matter is indeed focused on the subgenre’s typical obsessions: Satan, killing priests, turning crosses upside down, and all that well-known content. Under which circumstance this is not black metal? Just because they are not Norwegians? Darn, still, it is worthy of questioning more than once, but the formula cannot leave things clearer when all is said and done. Especially, taking into account the album’s art and the band’s logo, which is widely similar to that designed for Celtic Frost.

The music played throughout this release is insane. All the tracks here are played practically at the same speed and with the same intensity, making the highlight selection exercise quite complicated, mainly because the entire album is equally good, and there is no place for dumb ideas or fillers. Perhaps, “Make Love War” with its insane guitar intro and the overwhelmingly ill vocals from Ivan Verhaegen can be the most memorable moment, but the rest of the tracks come quite close. The title track is another highlight; its intro is somehow reminiscent of Slayer‘s hit “Evil Has No Boundaries,” and thereafter, it runs in a fucking wild fashion, as expected.

For whatever reason, this project did not survive the first album, and the band could not make a deal with a big discographic seal, not even with a smaller one. The production here is at the level of Venom and all the black metal bands coming afterward, like that usually coming from a low-budgeted act, which was a regular trend at the moment, until the early 90s when the Norwegians screwed up this essential item. Although the recommendation is to acquire this album in whatever format possible, this is quite a challenging task given the band’s underground status. Good luck!

Release date: 1988

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