Terravore - Official Website

Spiral Of Downfall

Bulgaria Country of Origin: Bulgaria

1. Spiral Of Downfall
2. Poisoned Skies
3. Blue Brutality
4. Black Tantra
5. Propagandacide
6. P.O.L
7. Sleeping Caldera
8. Blunt Force Trauma
9. Shattered
10. Nostromo

Review by Greg on April 8, 2024.

While I reckon that my eye on the Balkan metal scene tends to fall within the Serbian borders more often than not, neighboring countries do offer plenty of reasons to make me change my mind. Bulgaria's very own Terravore are already at their third LP in less than a decade, and I'll be damned if this Spiral Of Downfall doesn't at least look like something straight up my alley.

Indeed, once the title-track and opener greets you on your music player of choice, you get a pretty accurate idea of Terravore's recipe: modern thrash with a polished edge, harsh vocals that take more than a page from the Teutonic playbook, and, perhaps most notably, a terrific effort invested into the lead guitar sections. All of this, despite the decidedly old school presentation (starting with the band logo), screams Impalers more than anything else. Even Kalin Bachvarov's vocals sometimes seem to go for a vitriolic rasp akin to Søren Crawack's, albeit often lowering to a standard, death metal-like growl – but by and large it's sure to appeal to the same audience that appreciated the Danes' God from the Machine.

Additionally, an absolute plus of Spiral Of Downfall is that it offers something for everybody, and it surely helps individual songs stand out, to the listener's ears – although it's no wonder that the ones leaving the biggest trace are those breaking out of the norm the most. Whether it's 'Poisoned Skies' or 'Sleeping Caldera' bringing a sprinkle of blackened influences to the table, when not devoting themselves to awesome shredding, or 'Black Tantra' being a rare mid-tempo song that actually manages to convey the feeling of hopelessness and desperation (no doubt helped by its somber riff set), it's all something that would stick to memory. To the opposite end of the spectrum, 'Propagandacide' and 'Blunt Force Trauma' are by far the most The Celestial Dictator-esque of the lot, short, straight to the point, and without any kind of unnecessary frills.

A separate mention needs to be made for closer 'Nostromo', which, for all intents and purposes, is the equivalent of a thrash metal song written with the vision of mid-career Death in mind. This comparison might seem an excessive exercise in lateral thinking from me, whereas I'd say it's literally impossible not to make that connection, based upon the stop-start patterns and guitar noodling that bookend the song. There is also an interesting clean interlude with a trace of ethereal female choirs. Does everything make sense here? It doesn't really matter, and transitions aren't exactly harmonious (the almost 10-second gap before the actual verse starts is a clear indication), but I'd take bands pushing themselves to write ambitious compositions they have every right to be proud of, over the umpteenth rehashes of the same stuff, every day.

Now, there might be diverging opinions about the perfect length of such an album. Most of them will concur that 55 minutes isn't it. Some tracks could be axed, although not for many demerits of theirs – especially 'Shattered' is in a rather tough spot in the tracklist, to be truly appreciated, coming not long after 'P.O.L.' which also felt a bit overlong, and 'Blue Brutality' isn't on par with the rest in terms of ambition. But the whole thing is worth a listen, especially since I can't stress enough how awesome the solos of Ivan Lazarov and Boiko Nikolaev are, always with the right amount of melody and gusto, and they always, always climax, which is more than I can say about my ex-girlfriend for sure.

So, in a year of huge comebacks all around, Terravore's Spiral Of Downfall is another work that truly underlines how far from the genre's archetypal dogmas modern thrash has come, not shying away from experimenting with outer influences, although sometimes at the expense of immediate fruition. You decide whose side is the best. Ideally: merge this with Morbid Saint's "Swallowed By Hell" and you get the best of both schools.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10