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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Review: Höwler – Descendants of Evil

Label: Ragnarök Records

Date: November 18th, 2022

New Year is in front of me so it’s time to start the regular activities and something new. Writing, listening and reading is a circle I am not going out of lately, so this band has the privilege to be my first review in 2023. Great! Thrash / heavy metal, let’s see.

So, Höwler is a totally new name to me but with perfectly known formula for good 1980’s thrash metal. “Descendants of Evil” is their fourth album so far and I assume they don’t have intentions to stop.

When someone is playing thrash metal my opinion is really divided. I am not that big of a fan of this genre. I respect the name of thrash because in the 1980’s glam and thrash put metal music on the musical map of the world and that’s what Höwler says in one of their songs. Megadeth, Slayer, Sodom and, on some level, Metallica are bands people need to listen to before they pass the level on to something heavier. There is no possibility you didn’t hear about Metallica, right? But thrash is one of the first genres new metalheads are hearing. In my eyes it is a little bit too much testosterone and adrenaline in it and monotonous drumming, nothing much. Rare are the moments when I heard something new in thrash metal.

Höwler maybe listened to too much Metallica because that influence is easy to hear. Albums like “Master of Puppets” and “Kill’em All” definitely did some serious job here. I am not saying Höwler is copying Metallica but they surely are similar. The album is really a classical thrash metal one with even more classical lyrics but they definitely put effort to making this album sound good.

“A New World Disorder” is a perfect song for opening the album and there is an instantly smashing melody that makes you headbang like you are 15 years old. Every song is really different and unique with its own atmosphere. “Panzer 666” is a modern version of Destruction and the song is definitely a future anthem of old school thrash metal.

One fact I like about this band is some eastern folk melody they put in some songs like “Panzer 666”, “Anthem to the Warfare” and others. It refreshes those too fast melodies. “Cycle of Violence” and “Immortality” will take hearts of many metalheads, I am sure. Breaks in songs are epic and like in the best songs of Sepultura they give the songs a special note and even more metal(ish) atmosphere.

Vocals are a perfect metal voice but… Too much of a James Hetfield vibe. You know that feeling, you close your eyes and you hear Mr. Hetfield. It’s okay to have your heroes but a little bit of originality is always a good option in the art of music.

Thrash is one of the rare subgenres that can dare to put the fastest song next to some instrumental ballad like “Supernova” is. The solos are crazy in every song. All applauses to Mister Renan Obando and David Mora. Definitely, the guitars are keeping these songs out of monotonous thrash metal.

“Sleeping with the Devil” is like I listen to Metallica of 2000’s. Sorry for constant comparing but it is how it is. There is one weird fact about bands after year 2000. Vocals are giving much effort to sound like cheesy pop or new punk rock vocalists. I don’t know is it about the fashion, popularity or whatever, but “Sleeping with the Devil” has that moment. Luckily, only that one song, nothing more.

Thrash is not thrash without parties, beer and making fun of glammers. So, “Live to party, Party to Live” is a song actually dedicated to the whole 1980’s and their heroes. It’s literally a cute song, I like it. My kids will listen to this to educate themselves, trust me.

The cover photo couldn’t be more Megadeth-like. I understand the effort to fit into the genre but too much similarity to Megadeth and Metallica is so obvious that in some moments it is going on my nerves. I said it’s not a copy of Metallica but Höwler will totally need to work on their own name, art and originality. They are people that know how to make good music but begin with something that will separate you from the others. On the other side, Metallica did that, so, there is no bigger metal band then Metallica. Thrash ‘til death on your way, you can do it!