Once again, Norway has delivered onto us a stellar thrash album and if they keep it up there might be more drunkards hanging around emptying their alcohol filled bladders on churches rather than burning them. This duo of hellbastards really know how to make some top notch music that doesn't sound or come off as a complete, generic ripoff of the gods (I'm looking at a lot of you retrofrashers) but as a semi-serious band with the intent to crush your neck with their crazy brand of Bathory-worshiping thrash while dragging you to the very pits of hell, kicking and screaming.
"Onward to the Pits" gets right into the frenzied assault with the track "Deathrashing Sacrifice," which hits like a sledgehammer with its fast and concise riffing, as well as the heavier riffs thrown in for good measure. The best thing about this record is definitely Deathhammer's ability to mix things up a bit and bring some variety to the table (something that most bands of this sound don't really do). While the first track is a complete thrashing massacre, the next song "Voodoo Rites" is absolute Venom worship, and sounds like something that fellow Hell's Headbangers labelmates, Midnight would come up with. Songs like "Fullmoon Sorcery" and "To the Evil" feature some catchy riffs more of the speed metal type, but with Sergeant Salsten's devilish vocals at the front, there is plenty of heaviness to go around and plenty of neck-snapping as well.
To compliment the more speed metal type material perfectly, Deathhammer also channels their inner Kerry King and conjure up some wicked riffing that could haunt the dead. The intro to "Final Black Mass" is extremely catchy, and pretty much every riff after maintains the high quality for one of the best thrash tracks I've heard in a long time. "Seduced By the Flames" is one of the longer tracks, clocking in at six minutes, but there isn't a boring moment as the song has plenty of change in dynamics to hold the listener's attention and some brilliant solos to top everything off. Apparently these guys also held a seance and contacted Quorthon for some inspiration as well, because the song "Emperor of Sin" contains that same evil vibe that Bathory created in their music, while also retaining an undeniable thrashing energy that made you want to break everything in sight.
"Onward to the Pits" is already a strong contender to be one of the best thrash albums of the year along with fellow countrymen Nekromantheon's latest release. The amazing combination of speed, heaviness and evil that is found throughout this record is something that a lot of [thrash] bands should be tapping into more, but it's probably better left to the guys in Deathhammer. If you're a fan of Nekromantheon, Ketzer, Antichrist or Midnight, then these guys should be a top priority for you.
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"Emperor of Sin"
"Final Black Mass"
4.4/5 or 88%.