Tsar Bomb are a two-piece blackened death act from Malaga, Spain. Featuring Ocram (vocals & drum programming) and Ivan (guitars, bass & drum programming), the band has one EP and an album out, and they’re about to follow those up with a full length entitled Exterminans: IX:XI.
Exterminans IX:XI is an album fundamentally inspired by the Book of Revelations, and it manages to combine the esoteric side of the biblical scriptures with the well known warmongering and occultist world of Tsar Bomb, displayed on some very technical and destructive compositions that won’t let the listener rest for a moment. Without a doubt, this is an intense work falling more on the black than death side of the line.
Despite the ferocity, these aren’t quick-fire “hit you then move on” tracks. Some of them are nearing epic (in scope if not quite in length) at 5-6 minutes long. Again, while much of the music is a sheer wall of hatred and terror, there is definite rhythm and – in places – melody running as an undercurrent. Sometimes a plaintive note, sometimes a near-solo.
There is a heap of atmosphere as well, particularly in the “Intro” and “Outro” tracks. Sandwiched between them, though, are seven rather evil slices of black metal. Pick of them is “Septem Tonitrua”, mainly as I love the staccato break around halfway through which moves into a more classic death metal guitar solo. It does this without a pause in the pace, and the vocal effects add a further dimension. Dropping the tempo to “slow and heavy” in the final minute works well, too.
Exterminans: IX:XI may not be to everyone’s taste (such is the nature of the more extreme end of the metal scale), but for a two-man act utilising a drum machine for the ridiculously fast rhythms it’s a strong example in a crowded genre.