Monday, March 11, 2013

Into the Void: The Day of Wrath

Bulldozer - The Day of Wrath (Mar 1985)
There isn't a lot black about this album as a whole, but it undoubtably was listened to by those in the scene, and has one really great song, so I'll cover it. Guess what? It's another trio! Hailing from Italy, Bulldozer makes full use of papist flavours to their anti-religious ranting. From the artwork to the Latin exorcism intro track to the lyrics, Bulldozer sounds...well, Italian. In the same way that the sound of Bathory reflects the cold northern circle (yes, I know they're Swedish, not Norwegian), Bulldozer reflects Mediteranian wine country. How does that work for black metal? Not very well, honestly.

You can tell that the band is fed up with the Roman Catholic church. Who can really blame them? But they completely lack that grimness that the northern bands would capture. Still, album opener "Cut Throat" sounds more black than thrash, with skank beats and rapid legato guitar riffs that are, actually, similar to what Quothon was playing. Bulldozer is extremely sloppy. They seem to find it hard to hold a constant tempo, and while sometimes it seems by design, sometimes it doesn't. Bassist and vocalist A.C. Wild doesn't so much shout (a la Cronos) or shriek (a la Quothon) as he does grumble into a box fan (probably a phaser, not a fan, but it's a funnier mental image). Bulldozer's own influence seems to draw heavily from Judas Priest, particularly on tracks like "Insurrection of the Living Damned."

Honestly, the album is too long. Not counting the intro, it's eight tracks that take up nearly 39 minutes, and none of them particularly stand out, aside from "Whiskey Time," just for the sheer party-attitude joy of it. It reminds me the most of Van Halen with a little Iron Maiden thrown in, but it's also, in some ways, the blackest song on the album, just because of the speed and attitude that they put into it. The drums almost play blast beats, and A.C. Wild actually gets his vocals above a grumble when he shouts "It's fuckin' whiskey time!" The next track, "Welcome Death," is also interesting, but has much more of a doom vibe to it than a black one. And "Fallen Angel" reminds me heavily of "Exodus" by some band who put out an album called Bonded By Blood.

If I wasn't for this project, I wouldn't have listened to The Day of Wrath more than once (aside from, perhaps, "Whiskey Time"). I can probably count on one hand the number of Italian metal bands that I listen to. I don't think Bulldozer will be joining their ranks any time soon. That said, I will be covering their second album in 1986, which is much more black metal.

Final Verdict: While I'm sure it's something that the bands were listening to back then, to my ears it has less to do with black metal than Venom.

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