Susperia Unlimited

Album number three for this Norwegian don’t-call-’em-black-metal crew, and that tag has never been more appropriate. While previous albums dabbled in the black arts, with forgettable results, Unlimited emerges from the muck and instead offers up some great old school thrash. The problem with this album is also the reason why it kicks a lot of ass: it sounds just like Testament. Like, never in the history of metal has a band sounded more like Testament than Susperia suddenly do (they sound more like the Bay-area kings than Testament themselves did on Demonic!). Right down to the damn lyrics. It’s uncanny, but seeing as how Testament are forever struggling with their personal struggles, Unlimited works well as a teaser until the real thing comes along. It’s got a modern edge like Testament’s last offering, The Gathering, but also harkens back to the ’80s in a lot of ways. Bizarre, and if it wasn’t for the kick drums sounding slightly inhuman and that cold Norwegian edge, this one would really have harnessed the spirit of classic thrash in a magical way. Enjoyable, but I still feel a little bit suspicious about the whole thing. I mean, what the hell is going on here? (Candlelight)