Although Blackning has been around in some form or other for a decade, the band’s new album, Awakening Rage (their third full-length offering in all) is the first to feature their current lineup, which coalesced in 2017.

If I tell you that they play a death-tinged brand of thrash, and hail from Sao Paulo – then you can probably guess the rest. But whilst it’s true that their sound is very close to pre-Chaos AD Sepultura, there’s still plenty to enjoy on Awakening Rage. The band get stuck into their task with sincerity and gusto, and all nine of the ‘proper’ tracks on the album feature high quality musicianship (especially Renan Pigmew‘s frantic drumming) with the wounded bull roar of Cléber Orsioli – who of course also adds some grinding guitar to the mix alongside Zozi Fernando – front and centre.

Interestingly, however, the two best tracks on the album, Lamb To The Slaughter and Eye For An Eye, are the least reminiscent of the big ‘S’…

…Or at least ‘a’ big ‘S’, as the latter of the pair does bear a marked similarity to Slayer in it’s haunting, Devil’s triad-styled riffage. Of the rest of the material, the crushing Unnamed Reality – which features some absolutely massive bass work from Ricardo Brigas – is far and away the best, adding real finesse to the basic template and really stretching the band’s envelope.

The bottom line here is that Awakening Rage is never less than entertaining, but when the band hazard a little experimentation the album becomes positively enthralling – so maybe that’s something to think about for album number four. Whatever they decide to do though, there’s inarguably a market for this kind of music, and if that market counts you among it’s number then I think you’ll be enjoying this album for some time to come.

Awakening Rage releases on 28th July.