Album Title: 
The Art Of Suffering
Release Date: 
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Review Type: 

Last time we came across this Antwerp based Belgian Thrash Metal band, was for the official release of their full-length album 3 Cheers For The Misery through UK label Casket Music/ Copro Records [review in Copro Records special – with bands An Ocean Between Us and Inner Fire – was posted 09/02/2012 only, in spite of the album having already been issued in the UK on Halloween 2011 (that's 31/10/2011), and can still be checked upon in this site's “Archive” section]...but that album was already released by the band (in demo form – for the album additional production was done) in August 2010. So, in essence, it's been 2 ½ years between album releases, but was that such a long time really?

Nah...after all, the band had to find and then work in new bassist Kornee Kleefman (whom did his live debut with the band on March 19, 2011, at Antwerp's Music City. They then put in time to secure the deal with Casket Music/ Copro Records, recorded a video for 3 Cheers For The Misery track “Ashes Of Tomorrow”, and prior to going on the 10-day UK tour in October (the first gig of which, at Wakefield's Snooty Fox, was streamed live onto the Internet), Krossbreed put in appearances at Irondayz (Sept. 3rd) and Rockfort (Sept. 24th – with headliner Blaze Bayley) with an additional smaller gig in between. To round off 2011, the band still played a gig at Antwerp's De Rots on Dec. 10th. Having been asked to return to the Snooty Fox for a support gig to Alestorm on Sunday Feb. 5th of 2012, the band put in a long weekend, playing at some extra places on the evenings prior. With the band already having 10 new songs written by that time, first steps towards new recordings (in the form of enhanced rehearsals, and getting in touch with studios about availability, I guess) were already undertaken prior to that weekend trip to the UK. A weekend which they would not forget lightly, as on the first evening someone stole the band's trailer containing all of its gear and merchandise. Obviously, this set the band back somewhat, but thanks to help from the other bands, all dates were fulfilled as planned. Note: originally, the band were asked to come back in January, and if indeed that gig hadn't been postponed, all of the unpleasantness might not have happened!?

Back in Belgium, gigs were done in Elewijt (Feb. 25), Genk (31/03) and Aarschot's Ossfest (19/05), prior to a gig at Antwerp's De Rots in support of Spoil Engine on June 2nd. By that time the band had finished rehearsing all songs for the album, except the closing track “Between The Pain And Pleasure”. Prior to starting recordings at Blueberry Studio, the band still put in gigs at Oostrozebeke's De Krieke (09/06) and Roeselare's De Verlichte Geest (30/06). The band returned to the live scene in September, putting in attendance at Irondayz 2012 (01/09) and at Aarschot's Hangar 18 (21/09). On Sept. 30, the band also filmed the video for the new album's track “Fall From Grace”. Meanwhile, additional touches were being done to the album with the inclusion of some cello and violin to two tracks. Also, rhythm guitar and bass still had to be done. On October 6th, friends of the band had organized a benefit gig to raise money to replace the gear stolen in February. With recordings and mixing finally done (as always, by band leader Michel Vermoens), the album was sent off to Midas Studio for mastering, and on February 9th the album was all made to be presented at the release party, done at Aartselaar's JH Qbus with support acts Product and Carrion.

As mentioned several times before, I have been so fortunate to be able to witness this band's progress since the release of their first 2004 demo Down To The Core...and the only thing I can say is that I have notice the band's quality as songwriters increase little by little, to arrive to the point where they are now. Obviously, recording skills have improved, which has greatly benefited the outcome on album. I can only cheer the band's use of combined cello and violin on the album's opening title track (the cello and violin come through on two short passages here) and on 5th track “Lost Secrets” (only one short passage). Also, I must say, I very much like Kornee's vocal backings. They are indeed a perfect fit for Michel's lead vocal utterings! For your aural pleasure, the band has posted the almost complete album (unless my eyes were mistaking me, the song “Silver Lining” is missing) at (www.) Surf on over there as soon as you've finished reading this review, and find out for yourselves whether the term “Death Core Rage Thrashers” (which the band originally tagged itself with) still holds!