As wild and diverse as heavy metal can get, sometimes it really is nice to get back to basics, to go back to what brought the renegade genre that birthed myriad subgenres to the dance in the first place. Such is the modus operandi for Padua, Italy’s FATE, a quartet who come from various previous metal and punk acts, including The Rottens, Samsa, and Rough Touch. Staying true to the old-school mentality, their EP releases have been limited to cassette tapes, with their debut I only boasting 33 copies of said cassette recording. Their latest release II is a jolt of energy, with three blistering tracks totaling just a hair over ten minutes of classic speed and thrash metal for concrete proof that old school is still very cool.
The opener “Where The Gods Go To Die” starts with twin acoustic guitars noodling around before a synth and drums kick things into gear. The main riff that follows is a marching, stomping headbanger, before taking things even a hair slower in the following section. Speed metal is usually how FATE operates, but this song takes a methodical approach to great success. Plenty of palm muting and power chords make this feel classic metal enough, on top of the production that genuinely sounds like something recorded decades prior. That this act only formed two years ago and sounds like this is astonishing, if nothing else.
Next is “Mask of the Silver Death” and its galloping, epic main riff. The verse riff evokes memories of King Diamond, before things slip into thrash territory with tremolo picking and a breakneck pace. Following the sound of a drawn sword, the dual guitar harmonies come into play, which gives way to a solo that takes us out of this thrasher of a track and into a passionate monologue. The guitar solo that takes us to a fade is an odd choice, but it is indicative of classic metal, so I can’t knock it too hard.
Before we get too comfortable, the third and final track “Demiurge” kicks off with warbling leads and a get up and go pacing that screams raw, original thrash. If the ending of “Mask” closed the door gently behind it, this track kicked that sumbitch off its hinges. Just past minute one, things get low and slow, with a chugging groove that, older production sound and all, is still going to wreck shop with how classically heavy it is. The final notes of the EP are an eerie synth line that takes things out on a drab, spooky note to close out the show.
With all of the nostalgia we’re exposed to these days, with all of the desire to “get back to basics,” FATE looks at all of that and says “Oh yeah? Hold our beer.” You’d be forgiven to mistake this record for something that came out over thirty years ago, between the production values, the instrumentation, and the overall presentation. It’s this commitment to the old way that comes off not as pretentious or snobbish, but triumphant and respectful to those that came before.
II will be released on September 30th via Caligari Records. Orders of the cassette (limited to 150 copies) come with a digital download of the EP in full.