Suicidal Angels – ‘Profane Prayer’

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For some reason, I still consider Greek thrashers Suicidal Angels a fairly new band, but I realised they’ve been going for over twenty years, where has that time gone? They’ve been pretty consistent during that time releasing quality old-school thrash every couple of years.

They’ve lost none of their fire and drive as opener ‘When The Lions Die’ will attest but it’s on both ‘Crypts of Madness’ and ‘Purified By Fire’ that they really let loose and give us their proper Slayer-inspired thrash. It’s fast and nasty with some searing white-hot lead playing from Gus Drax. The epic ‘Deathstalker’ starts with a lonely acoustic before the razor-sharp riff comes in on a dual melody and they start a big crunchy galloping groove. Singer/Guitarist Nick Melissourgos is ably assisted by friends Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ), Efthimis Karadimas and Fotis Bernardo (both Nightfall) on vocals before the Maiden/Priest dual guitar thing brings a shedload of trad metal riffery and melodic lines.

It’s not thrash but it is impressive, spine-tingling and goose-bump-inducing. I can imagine this being a live fave and a future band classic. The title track returns to the thrash without any ceremony then ‘Return Of The Reaper’ eases back again on a dark melody line before the chugging riff sets us off on a groove metal thing. Bassman Aggelos Lelikakis has a go at briefly introducing ‘Guard Of The Insane’ and off they go on another huge head-banging chugger before the rapid brutality of ‘Virtues Of Destruction’ knocks you senseless for just under three minutes.

The final cut ‘The Fire Paths Of Fate’ is another epic clocking in at nearly ten minutes. It’s a slow build with a beautiful female voice chanting an eastern refrain before the guitars weave between them Melissourgos starts to bellow over the females wailing. It’s slow and heavy to start and Drax shows what fluid fingers he has with some blinding leads. As expected, it goes through different movements which are seamlessly pieced together going from Maiden-esque melodic metal to Priest-like chug-a-thons. Horns up because this is quality metal!

Suicidal Angels where their influences on their sleeves but they have developed into an all-encompassing metal band. No just thrash now, they show here that they have many more strings to their bow and can compete with the best of them. Looks like 2024 has started like 2023 with a superb release that will surely be near the top of the top ten lists.

Track List –

1 – When The Lions Die

2 – Crypts Of Madness

3 – Purified By Fire

4 – Deathstalker

5 – Profane Prayer

6 – The Return Of The Reaper

7 – Guard Of The Insane

8 – Virtues Of Destruction

9 – The Fire Paths Of Fate

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