Blackning – Awakening Rage (Black Lion Records)

Friday, 28th July 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Thrash metal as a genre may have thrived in the Bay Area or Germany during the first wave of the mid-80’s to early 90’s, but these days the global expansion leaves no stone unturned in that department. With Sepultura putting Brazil into the game as a genuine headliner, it’s natural to look at other acts like Blackning who yearn to make that climb into the ranks of worthy contenders. Their two previous albums came out on Brazilian label Vinganca Music, setting the stage for Black Lion Records of Sweden to sign the band for this key third studio platter Awakening Rage.

The quartet possess similar traits to many Bay Area greats of the past – preferring a strong rhythmic/crunchy foundation for the guitars that is precise, a versatile bass/drum component that can be sinister in speed as capable in those tribal/groove elements. Most listeners will find the early stunted gallops and blitzkrieg double kick/rapid fill parts to “Violate” an ideal opener, guitarist Cléber Orsioli standing on the razor’s edge through his throat bursting, raspy vocal delivery. Controlled riffs plus distant vocal aspects keep “Insanity in Power” in that slower, militant mold – thoughts on Grip Inc. churning as the music swirls, a carefully placed lead break builds into a flurry of excitement. Shorter instrumentals like “Disfigured Trust” and “Lex Tailonis” showcase more intense technical-fueled action, while the almost seven-minute cut “Eye For An Eye” contains a thick bass-driven foundation from Ricardo Brigas plus a longer, almost cinematic ending movement that could be a difference maker for the band. All of the requisite hooks, transitions, and versatility is present within this set of musicians – delivered in a dynamic package where subtle stop/start interplay or progressive action keeps ears pinned for what could happen next.

Add in the social/political topics regarding lies, controlling the masses, etc. and its readily apparent that Blackning through Awakening Rage have released an explosive record that stands toe to toe with most of their influences in terms of quality material.

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