Cold, brutal, barbaric and drenched in the blood of countless dead…
Meted out by Iron Bonehead Productions on 2 May 2016 and endured for entertainment purposes by Jason “the Tormentor” Guest
Forget gore. Forget the occult. Forget chin-stroking, head-scratching, argument-provoking philosophical waffle. Auckland, New Zealand’s Prisoner of War deal in the cold brutality of war encased in “fast beats and pummelling riffs from the arsehole of the world”, as they put it. Charming. Yet apt. Formed in 2013 by vocalist/bassist Charred Remains, guitarist Typhoid Filth, and drummer MG 42 with a penchant for outrageously paced chaos, they released the excrementally entitled four-song demo Shit-filled Pit of Hell in 2014, played a bunch of gigs in 2015, and then wrote a bunch of tracks that were to become this EP.
The magnificent ‘Slow And Painful Death By Gas’ opens proceedings with a trem-picked assault that very quickly explodes into death metal gruesomeness. The shifts through riffs, through tempos and through feels are executed with aplomb, the menace of the track unfolding as the track builds to its chaotic climax. The unremitting ‘Evil sky’ is bespattered with flurry after flurry of maniacal guitar noise as Charred Remains spews his venomous bile over the machine gun drums and relentless clambering and cutting riffs. Like the first track, it’s the half tempo passages where the band brings a churning and curiously serene dimension to the barbarity.
‘Purgatorial Shadow’ is a mass of unsettling dirty and off-beat grooves, ample preparation for the cover of Autopsy’s ‘Twisted Mass Of Burnt Decay’. Usually reserved until the last track of an album or EP as a bonus, as the fourth track on this EP, its sits very well amid the ferocity but the trouble is it overshadows the band’s own material and makes clear what work they have left to do. And so it’s up to the title track to close the EP. With the band pushing their chaotic savagery further still, they leave us with the distinct feeling that the war has only just begun.
A quick comparison with the demo material (thanks again to YouTube) and it’s clear that the band have made significant progress. The riffs are sharper, the vocals more threatening and imposing, the arrangements more ambitious, and the atmosphere much more chaotic and so the ravages of war are rendered more effectively. An impressive debut. From a band with that moniker and members with such marvellous nom de guerres, what else could we have expected?
7 out of 10
- Slow And Painful Death By Gas
- Evil Sky
- Purgatorial Shadow
- Twisted Mass Of Burnt Decay