Rapture – Paroxysm Of Hatred (2018)

Is retro thrashing death the next trend to be pilfered in the underground? Rapture‘s second album is an accurate replica of this style from the tailend of the 80s: the songwriting of speed/thrash crossed with the dissonant textures of the then-nascent death metal scene creating an extremely breathless and confrontational hybrid. Rapture come from Greece, a region on the metal map not known for doing things half-heartedly; therefore, Paroxysm Of Hatred is very convincing at what it does, but how much of it is relevant?

Like compatriots Suicidal Angels, Rapture retain the shouted vocals of traditional thrash , but dial down the downpicked syncopation and bounce of that style for equal emphasis on the longer phrases of death metal (see: Demolition Hammer, Protector, Incubus etc). The hallmark here is songwriting that only teases at the more expansive ambition of death metal, but soon enough retreats into the familiar comforts offered by a curb stomping. This unwillingness to look much farther than the tip of one’s nose induces a certain discreteness to the music; with such tunnel-vision is also accompanied a perpetual recapitulation of prior motifs, effectively leaving songs spinning their proverbial wheels and depending to an inordinate degree on the occasional breakdown and attractive lick.

This is accepted as the flaw native to thrash metal and what has rendered it an evolutionary dead end among heavy metal strains. The style’s primary movers of melody are simple chord shapes derived from the hardcore punk playbook, spaces between which are occupied with material signifying no progression or narrative. When Rapture escape these self-imposed chains and embrace the crossover into death metal, however fleeting it might be, they hint at something a little more promising; it is not altogether inconceivable that the band might reappear in the future with just such a realigned approach. For now, Paroxysm Of Hatred is a flag of the band’s spirit, competent in realizing its limited goals, but not something that will withstand the test of time.

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