Topór - Wieczna Kaźń

Poland’s Topór have had a bit of a rough haul since their inception back in 2012, but 2023 finally saw a breakthrough with a new vocalist added to the band and a full length debut. They can be best described as a Thrash Speed Metal band that perform both in English and Polish in a style that is a mix of Vader meets Municipal Waste. A bit more punkish and fun oriented like Municipal Waste, this three piece creates some rather upbeat tracks that are groove laden with plenty of hooks, furious drumming, a mix of barked cleans and some ‘near Death Metal snarls,’ and overall just a sense of enjoyment that can be seen when they perform and felt by the listener. Mścisław handles bass and guitar duties and teamed up with his fellow bandmate from Abusiveness, Wizun, to handle the drums from the start. Joined in 2022 by Uappa Terror from Extinkt, they deliver a range of Thrash oriented scorchers that will appeal to fans of Overkill more than that of the typical Slayer.

The Vader influences can be heard more in the biting, aggressive pieces like ‘Over the Mountains of Mourn.’ Lyrically repetitive yes, but the bursts of drums and guitar while the vocals spitfire over them will reminisce fans of Vader’s earlier work and show that Topór can hit hard. For the more ‘party hard and headbang’ type, ‘At the Gates of Valhalla’ and ‘Fight for Metal’ have those anthemic choruses and enjoyable riffs loaded with groove, despite the rather Hammerfall cheesy lyrics at times. ‘Sail for Revenge’ has dizzying solos and a good mix of the Death inspired snarls mixed with the cleaner shouting/ singing. ‘Bestii znak’ is where it is at for mostly ‘non clean vocals.’ ‘Topór…’ has some of the better guitar work as the band actually aims for the more melodic side, delving away from just heavy riffs and almost delving into Folk Metal with some of the solo work, but that is short lived as most of the track reverts back to the typical Thrash oriented speed. For those who just want a groove riff that sticks with the head, ‘Egzekutor’ (and just ignore the bad spelling) brings some of the best of Cavalera and early Sepultura with churning groove that refuses to let up and again shows the band’s ability to delve into different pools of the Thrash world.

The only downside to this album is the band tends to stick with only 3 realms of Thrash, letting the Municipal Waste side of things dominate. Yes, there is the Vader influences and that of Cavalera, and when you take the album as a whole it sounds a lot more inspiring that those who tend to go the route of trying to emulate Slayer or Testament, but after a while the tracks just kind of seem to blend together at times as many have that same speed level of Punk Thrash/ Death Thrash hybrid with little to really distinguish it save the riffs. And when it comes to riffs- again- ‘Egzekutor’ stands out for its change in tempo as there is more of a shift to almost Groove Metal amidst the Thrash, and it would have been nice to see more of that to make the album more varied and stand out. Overall, those who want more than the average Thrash outlet will find more to love than hate in “Wieczna kaźń” as it delves deeper than most Thrash albums these days, but just not quite deep enough. There isn’t really a ‘slow’ track here, so expect a full throttle ride with plenty to raise eyebrows provided one can discern one track from the next. A strong debut from a rather unknown band that hopefully will get better as time goes on.

3 / 5 STARS

1. At The Gates Of Valhalla
2. Zimna Jak Stal
3. Fight For Metal
4. Wieczna Kaźń
5. Sail For Revenge
6. By The Sword (Dialogue)
7. Egzekutor
8. Topór (Iskry I Krew)
9. Bestii Znak
10. Over The Mountains Of Mourn