High Roller Records, 2nd pressing, silver vinyl, ltd 200, insert, “It becomes clear that there has been a huge evolution when you compare our old songs to this album” … a statement that rings true – and loudly so – as early as, at the latest, 30 seconds into “Cursed to the Pyre”, the debut full-length of deadly thrashers Slaughter Messiah.Having channelled their primal instincts with simple yet effective fare on two demos and three EPs in less than ten years, the band sounds peculiarly sophisticated on their first album while maintaining every bit of their trademark aggression and – maybe distinctly? – Belgian blackness.“We play the way the ancient masters taught us, no matter where they came from”, rebuts drummer John Berry. “What you could call typical for our home country may be our beer consumption and my personal preference for Bastos cigarettes. I like to think that the source of our music comes from a lot deeper than just listening to the classics. While there is nothing wrong with that, you quickly turn into an uninspired, generic or watered down version of it all.” It is for this very reason that besides relatively straightforward outings that evoke images of a stirred hive of angry hornets, the record offers acutely atmospheric and almost progressive moments, the kind of which make seven-minute epic ‘Hideous Affliction.’ “Cursed to the Pyre” keeps grinding and ploughing, crawling and pummeling in all the right places yet never swerving one inch from, as John summarily names it, “pure and uncompromising metal of death.” Having said that, the quartet is set to “conquer the world and kick more ass,” as bassist and singer Lord Sabathan puts it.