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Mongrels Cross: The Sins Of Aquarius

Another batch of CDs to review and another healthy dose of HellsHeadbanger releases to make my ears stream with blood and puss as they are treated to straight up extreme metal of the mightiest variety. This time we have an Australian black/death/thrash outfit under the name of Mongrels Cross, hammering out a gigantic guitar assault that wouldn't think twice about brutalising all in its path. That they do so with huge dollop of retro cool is just a bonus. As with many HH releases, this full length Mongrels debut, The Sins Of Aquarius, adds little flash, or attempt to update the genre. Instead Mongrels Cross are determined to stick to a path that has indeed been well trodden, but also one which hasn't quite had as much footfall in recent years. There's no ear-piercing screams, or keyboard embellishments, so you can rest assured that if you take your blackened death seriously, you won't feel violated by any attempt to appeal to the kiddies. No, this is a band serious about paying homage through growled, yet controlled vocals, dirty, dirty guitars and a drum assault that at volume will make you wince.

All of the songs, as far as extreme metal is concerned, veer into the lengthy category. However rather than formulate a riff, before repeating it endlessly, Mongrels Cross have the ability to rein things in, before unleashing their rage again, resulting in seven cuts that stand up strong and proud to repeat listens. In fact some of the longer instrumental passages on the over seven minute "When The Dragon Gives Birth" and six minute plus "Lead Them From The Promised Land", are amongst the strongest moments on this disc. What is also prevalent on these tracks, and others, is the interesting mixture of tempos that appear, giving the whole album a maturity that you wouldn't always expect from a band offering up their first full length effort. Add in the shorter blast of "Hunters Of The Born Again", which bludgeons more fiercely than its album mates and the staccato jab of "Indulge The Temple" and The Sins Of Aquarius hits the mark in both refinement and forcefulness.

Maybe slightly too straight laced and reverential to the origins of this genre for some people's taste, Mongrels Cross have nevertheless come up with a convincing debut statement. What comes next could be mighty indeed.

Track Listing
1. The Sins of Aquarius
2. Rabid Inception
3. Lead them from the Promised Land
4. Hunters of the Born Again
5. Indulge the Temple
6. Revelations Transpire
7. When the Dragon Gives Birth

Added: August 25th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Mongrels Cross at the HellsHeadbangers Shop
Hits: 1513
Language: english

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