Thursday, 26 April 2012

THANATOS - Realm Of Ecstasy (1992)

01  And Jesus Wept
02  Tied Up, Sliced Up
03  Realm Of Ecstacy
04  Mankind's Afterbirth
05  In Praise Of Lust
06  Perpetual Misery
07  Human Combustion
08  Reincarnation
09  Terminal Breath

Thanatos are a Dutch Death/Thrash metal band formed in Rotterdam. With a history dating back to 1984, they are the oldest death metal band from the Netherlands. Thanatos broke up 1992, after the cancellation of a tour with Cannibal Corpse and Exhorder, but regrouped in 1999 and have released material since. Why this band isn't as well known as say, Sinister or Pestilence is beyond me. 'Realm Of Ecstasy' is every bit as good as any other death metal release from around 1992. Maybe it's because the band are from The Netherlands and were signed with Shark Records (who were known for poor promotion)? Who knows, but regardless, this is high quality death metal that is extremely enjoyable. The line-up for the band on 'Realm Of Ecstasy' is; Stephan Gebédy (vocals/guitar), Remo van Arnhem (drums), Erwin de Brouwer (guitars) and Ed Boeser (bass).

The lyrics on this album aren't particularly great, but the music makes up for it. For example, the song "In Praise of Lust" apparently is an ode to orgies and the lyrics are not going to be winning any Pullitzer prizes any time soon; "Forever forced to fuck the shit out of each other" is an example of the immature writing which is scattered throughout this release. The musicianship is very solid though, so the ineptitude of their word play only detracts a certain from the overall listen. The vocals are deep demonic grumbles which are nearly impossible to decipher without the written lyrics  and the guitar tone is dark and heavy, being tuned down considerably low in true old school European death metal style, reminiscent of acts such as Asphyx. Unlike a lot of death metal bands from that era, we're actually spared a lot of the basic "filler" blast-beats and riffs that seem to plague a lot of early death metal records, with many Cannibal Corpse songs being a prime example. The stand-out track in my opinion are; "Mankind's Afterbirth", "Perpetual Misery" and "Terminal Breath".

As for the production, there's really not much to say. It definitely sounds a lot more full than the debut 'Emerging From The Netherworlds', especially in the guitar department, but otherwise it's pretty nondescript. It's not going to blow you away, but it does its job well. In all, this is a very solid album and it deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. Highly reccomended although finding a copy may be an expensive endeavour...

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