Record Reviews

Album review: Survive “Immortal Warriors”

Japanese metal band Survive celebrates two decades of musical brutality with a smashing new album.

There is currently a wave of great Japanese metal bands who start to make names for themselves internationally. One of the bands is Survive. They have toured internationally quite a few times over the years. Earlier this year they did a European tour together with Venom Inc. and here in Japan, they have this year opened for the likes of At The Gates, Municipal Waste and Venom Inc. Formed in 1998, this is the band’s tenth studio album. Survive currently consists of the core trio of Nemo (vocals and guitar), Sinjlow (bass) and Gaku (guitar). The album has been recorded with session drummers and on some of the recent live shows, United drummer Akira Tominaga has filled in behind the drum kit.

Survive is frequently called a thrash metal band. While that is part of the story, this band is so much more than just conventional thrash metal. Survive plays terrific modern thrashy and dark metal. It’s a great blend of brutal and melodic metal – with dashes of thrash, speed, death and black metal in the mix. There is a crushing brutality to many of the songs and also quite a few atmospheric parts on many of the songs. We also get a few contemporary sounding parts, some of them reminding me a bit of Trivium’s sound. But for the most part, the music on this album is more on the brutal side. Survive also has great melodies and a bag full of splendid guitar solos. But the thrash metal foundation is of course there. The guitars on “Wrath” are insane! The same goes for the title track, “Immortal Warriors” and several of the other tracks on this solid album. My favourite tracks on the album include “Control the Darkness” (which opens with a terrific atmospheric soundscape built on haunted guitars) and the angry and hard-hitting “Blood and Sacrifice”. This is a terrific album by a great Japanese metal band.

Survive’s “Immortal Warriors” will be released on 12th September via Rebel Recordings. You can catch them live at Club Asia in Shibuya, Tokyo on 17th September.