Aaron Akin – Vocals/Guitar
Trevor Johanson – Guitar
Ryan Thompson - Bass
Ross Burnett – Drums
There isn’t a single clean passage, moody interlude, orchestral intro, or shoegazing break on Black Fast’s unapologetically destructive third album, Spectre of Ruin. From start to finish, thrash metal fury is the business of Black Fast… and business is very good.
The Midwestern quartet expertly constructs technical marathons of vintage thrash with modern sensibilities and hints of esoteric strangeness. Black Fast is a perfect soundtrack to mornings spent in gridlocked traffic and evenings spent demolishing a backyard party.
The St. Louis crew’s sophomore set, Terms of Surrender, was rightly praised as “a meditation in calculated chaos” and “a barnburner with serious crossover appeal” by Pitchfork. Like metal tomb raiders, the tight-knit quartet excavates the missing link lost in the dimensional vortex that unites retro thrash with proto death metal, delivered with unrelenting momentum and clarity. It’s a sound finely honed over a self-released EP and their debut album, each more pummeling and refined than the last.
As Metal Sucks proclaimed, “There is absolutely no fat on this pig. Like, this is a lean hell-boar with tusks of steel going after your soft flesh in the night. Bow to Black Fast and let it speak you to death!” Spectre of Ruin ups the ante for a too often underserved genre. Black Fast press forward with riffs, leads, fills, and lyrics so deliciously malicious they will elicit black-toothed grins from even the most cynical of music fans.
Since the release of their EP Starving Out the Light (2013), and Terms of Surrender (2015), Black Fast has taken their fast-paced celebratory blackened assault to the masses. In clubs and theaters, they’ve combined forces with bands like Overkill, Goatwhore, Voivod, Havok, Revocation, Crowbar, Vektor, Hate Eternal, Rivers of Nihil, and Battlecross. The fire burning around the group is evident on YouTube: “I Conspire” has been viewed more than 300,000 times.
Album opener “Cloak of Lies” sets the stage for Spectre of Ruin with a heaping helping of everything Black Fast represents, a locomotive of riffs barreling down the tracks with determined speed and aggression. Songs like “Mist of Ruin,” “Famine Angel,” “Scarecrow and Spectre” and “Phantom I Am” feature masterful solos that are tasteful yet ripping. Black Fast is on fire lyrically, as well. “Temple of Leviathan” takes a page from timeless mythology, giving the “belly of the beast” allegory renewed vigor.
Like its predecessor, Black Fast’s Spectre of Ruin was summoned into sharp focus at Mana Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida, with Erik Rutan, the Hate Eternal frontman and ex-Morbid Angel guitarist who has produced albums by genre titans like Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, and Six Feet Under. It’s all killer, no filler, demonstrating the destructive force of focused neo-thrash and progressive death-infused heavy metal at its finest.
Black Fast follow the road map laid down by the great bands with “Angel” and “Death” in their names, swearing off the trappings of the mainstream with steadfast dedication to their chosen craft. As vocalist/guitarist Aaron Akin once summarized, “We’ve pushed our chips all-in since the beginning. We threw caution to the wind. We’re playing metal. We don’t really give a shit about ‘making it.’”
This music is a vibrant soundtrack to society’s collapse and a celebration of defiant resolution. The Black Fast mission is ruthlessly simple: champion musical aggression, bark at the moon, raise a fist, and head bang like there’s no tomorrow.