Black Anvil – Miles

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label URL: STB Records
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://stbrecords.bandcamp.com/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/BlackAnvil/

Band line-up:

R.G.  – Drums, vocals
P.D. – Vocals, bass
Sos – Guitars
Travis Bacon – Guitars

Tracklisting:

1.) Iron Sharpens Iron
2.) Miles
3.) Everlasting Saturnalia
4.) A Corpse Without a Soul

Review:

There are two distinct kinds of EP release. Both are the same in terms of length: more than a single, less than a full-length LP. One type is not much of a stylistic departure, it’s just not enough material for another full album. The other is when the artist wants to do something different, wants to experiment.

It’s that second category that Miles falls into, and it does make for an intriguing little listen. Initially it was just a cover of Mercyful Fate’s “A Corpse Without a Soul” and the title track, which was written as a tribute to Selim Lemouchi of The Devil’s Blood. In its final form, it also now includes a cover of “Everlasting Saturnalia” (The Devil’s Blood again) and one other new track, “Iron Sharpens Iron”. 2 covers, 2 new tracks, and some pretty varied styles of music across the board, making for a really unique release.

“Iron Sharpens Iron” is perhaps the most conventional, being straight-up black metal, and unfortunately kind of dull for it. It’s not a bad song, but there isn’t any aspect of it we haven’t heard a hundred times before. The tremolo riffing, the pounding blasts from the drums, the snarled vocals, the icy atmosphere. It’s just a very bog-standard track.

“Miles” is where things get far more interesting. It feels like a perfectly fitting tribute to the occult rocking of The Devil’s Blood, managing to capture both the general sound and power of their music, while also bringing in just enough hints of Black Anvil’s more vicious approach. It seems obvious to say, but it really does sound like Black Anvil paying tribute to post-punk Gothic rock, and doing it damn well to boot.

“Everlasting Saturnalia” and “A Corpse Without a Soul” are less surprising, of course, being covers, and ones that don’t deviate much from the originals. Saturnalia maybe stands out a little more, just as something less predictable from a black/thrash band. “A Corpse Without a Soul” is a stonking slab of classic metal, decked out in denim and leather and laughing at its own Satan worship. Both are good songs and competently done, and the listener will likely enjoy them when they’re on, but it’s hard to imagine many going for these versions over the originals.

Miles is a curious release, and certainly not a bad one, but very little of it besides the title track feels necessary. That one is good, the covers are decent if unremarkable, and “Iron Sharpens Iron” is just a bit too standard. There’s nothing downright wrong here, but I could only really recommend one song here out of the four on offer.

Review by:

Kieron Hayes

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