Here we are again, looking at the most intriguing and important releases in the fantastic and crazy world of THRASH METAL.
This second episode of the thrash metal radar is focused to the main releases that happened during the month of February 2019, and features six different albums that were selected among all of those published in this period of time. For those who didn’t have the chance to see the previous article of this series, the first episode of the radar was released on late January and it introduced the latest LPs by Violblast, Inferno, Dust Bolt, Flotsam and Jetsam, Fusion Bomb and Insanity Alert.
As far as geography is concerned, in this new episode we have three American bands (Overkill, Judgement and Black Mass), two for Germany (Ravager and Rezet), and one from Spain (Death Above).
Enjoy this second episode of the THRASH METAL radar, and stay tuned for the future updates.
“Warlust”, by Black Mass
The month of February was extremely rich of new publications for thrash metal, and among the albums that I liked the most, there is Warlust, the second LP from Black Mass, which is the band formed by a trio of crazy thrashers from Boston, in the U.S.A.
Black Mass offers another interpretation of old school thrash metal, but it’s played so well and with such passion that their new LP is definitely enjoyable and nice to listen to. Something which is particularly interesting is the power and the lethal precision of the rhythmic component.
Cristian Azevedo‘s bass, in particular, really looks like a machine gun: it’s shots at supersonic speed but with impressive accuracy.
I’ve published a dedicated review of the LP, you can read it from here.
“Iron Rule”, by Judgement
Let me mention here a debut album from a new thrash and crossover band called Judgement. They come from Rhode Island and New York, in the U.S.A., and they have released their first LP, called Iron Rule.
The style of music played by Judgement is basically a mid-paced thrash metal that’s all centred around the rhythm guitar: in fact in the LP you won’t hear anything else than an uninterrupted sequence of riffs (some good, some less), with very little space left to the lead guitar, and without any tangible variation on the basic rhythms scanned by the drums and the bass. The voice of the singer is powerful and abrasive, but he also offers very few variations throughout the entire disc.
Nevertheless, I wanted to introduce this group because in their music there is a good potential as evidenced by the last song of the album, Warhorse, which is really well done and engaging, and it’s definitely the most exciting moment of the album.
“Digital Breed”, by Death Above
Digital Breed, the new album by Spanish thrash band Death Above, was something that I was going to discard too quickly. When I started listening to the first track of the LP, I started to think that this was of the many records without temperament and personality. Thick but not memorable riffs, a fairly standard voice, and speedy moments alternated by sequences of melodic solo guitar leads that have the effect of lessening the tension instead of enriching the song.
But instead, as I was going forward along the twelve tracks of Digital Breed, I started to change my mind. What I realized, in fact, is that this band from the Canary Islands, which was unknown to me before this encounter, had managed to place in their LP a number of really engaging songs, and which fully reflect the very characteristics of thrash metal: speed, aggressiveness, and even a bit of healthy irreverence.
I’ve published a dedicated review of the LP, you can read it from here.
“Thrashletics”, by Ravager
Ravager is a relatively new band which is trying to emerge in the German thrash scene with a recipe that blends the classic Teutonic metal style with inserts from Bay-area thrash style and also some influences from groove. Thrashletics is their second LP, which arrives two years after their debut record called Eradicate… Annihilate… Exterminate…
The approach to thrash metal that’s presented by this formation is very focused on the contrast between extremely furious and groovy moments, with the sporadic introduction of melodic sections that recall to mind the famous arpeggios of Master of Puppets. The riffing is decidedly aggressive and powerful and I would say that this group shows really good potential. What’s missing today is mostly the capacity to write memorable or even just relatively catchier tracks, but it seems to me that we’re definitely on the right track.
“Deal With It”, by Rezet
There is another band from Germany which in the last few weeks released an interesting thrash metal album. They are named Rezet, and differently from Ravager they have already accumulated quite an extensive background in the Country’s metal scene. Active for about fifteen years, these guys from Schleswig have already released two EPs and four LPs. Their latest full-length record, called Deal With It, basically confirms their particular style of thrash that incorporates many elements of heavy metal, starting from the particular voice of Ricky Wagner, which has a decidedly classic approach, but also due to the presence of many moments dedicated to the lead guitar.
The element that in my opinion stands out most in Deal With It is the technical ability of the musicians, both as regards the guitars and also for what concerns the rhythm section. The LP offers a number of really beautiful moments in which the lead guitar unleashes fast and articulated solos while bass and drums push like crazy at high speed. From the point of view of the riffing, however, something is still missing to make the tracks more engaging. In general terms, this is for sure an enjoyable record of good and solid thrash, with an impressive technical performance. I would like to see these guys playing live.
“The Wings of War”, by Overkill
I couldn’t conlcude this digest without mentioning the new LP from Overkill, named The Wings of War, if only because for many fans of thrash this is presumably one of the major events that happened so far in 2019.
When we talk about Overkill we are speaking of one of the historical representatives of American thrash metal. The band was formed in New York City as back as 1980, but they somehow struggled to reach the same level of popularity of other legendary bands that were born in the same years. Maybe this is partially related to the fact that during their activity Overkill has gone through really many different changes in the line-up, and this didn’t favour the consolidation of a truly recognizable and solid style of thrashing.
Even for their latest LP, they arrived with a new member in the line-up, with Jason Bittner (ex-Shadows Fall and ex-Flotsam and Jetsam) replacing Ron Lipnicki, who was in the band since 2005 and participated to five of the nineteen albums of the band’s discography. In this case, however, the change seems to have been quite painless and, in fact, The Wings of Waris probably one of the most compact and solid albums of the last decade.
The latest musical offer from Overkill is certainly valuable and I believe that this record won’t disappoint the historical fans of the American band. Indeed, The Wings of War is probably the record that they’ve been waiting for since Ironbound, which is considered by many as the most successful and enjoyable albums from Overkill of the last decade.
As far as I am concerned, I must admit that I have never been one of the main fans of the band, this is because I don’t feel particularly connected with their particular style of thrashing. Anyway, I recognize and fully respect the dedication, constancy and integrity that the band has shown along with their impressive career.
If you like thrash metal, probably you will already have heard of THRASH METAL FEAST, the playlist on Spotify which features all the best and latest thrash metal songs.