Lithuanian blackthrashers Night Slasher are a smart bunch it seems; they’ve certainly got the leather, studs n’Satan schtick down pat, but they are sensible – and skillful – enough to take their music far beyond cookie cutter speed metal tropes.

There’s a classy dollop of early Mustaine in a lot of their riff-writing for instance, that adds a certain oomph to the likes of Clyster Lizard. I kept half expecting vocalist Laurynas Karka to start wailing ‘RATTLEHEAD!!!!’ during the song as Juozapas Bočkus‘ riffs reached critical mass, but the band stops short of going full ‘Deth by utilising a full gamut of riff styles to keep things fresh and varied.

Karka is a versatile vocalist, often eschewing the favoured Gollum gargle of many blackthrash singers for something more substantial. Standout cut Liver Ripper, for instance, adds a bit of Kreator and Voivod vocal brutality to the mix to deliver an irresistible, hi-octane bullet belt blitz that really does serve to set the band apart from the opposition; this is a band that would seem eminently able to go toe-to-toe with anyone out there currently, I’d be happy to wager.

Rhythm section Dmitrijus Matvejevas (D) and Tomas Ivanovas (B) both play their parts to the full, too, with Ivanovas often adding a bit of flair beyond the call of duty. The pair work particularly well together on the more progressive Pit of Hate,which is easily the most sophisticated track the band has come up with thus far and points to a bright future beyond the realms of blackthrash should the quartet choose to pursue it.

I for one hope that’s just what they do, because there’s more than enough evidence on Night Slasher to suggest that this is a band well worth investing some time in moving forward. Great work guys!

Night Slasher releases on 6th February.