Overall an enjoyable listen, although I personally struggled with the tech-thrash trio after Pantera (although following them with that Voivod track was genius as all was then forgiven!). The rest was pretty kick-ass and Sick Boogie Murder deserves special mention for being so fucking off-the-wall. Nice job, Vinny.
The Chilean thrash scene is one of the more vital and vibrant iterations of the genre in these early decades of the 21st century. Bands like Demoniac, Critical Defiance and Ripper are but the tip of the Chilean iceberg and Parkcrest are another extremely talented bunch of thrashers. It does seem like quite a tight scene however, with Parkcrest guitarist Diego Armijo and drummer Nicolás Villanueva also playing in Ripper and vocalist/guitarist Javier Salgado playing in Critical Defiance and Hellish amongst several others. Formed in 2011, Parkcrest didn't release their first album until 2016's Hallucinative Minds hit the metaphorical Bandcamp shelves. Whilst being an energetic and raw album, Hallucinative Minds is far from the finished product, but did show some promise. So did the follow up, ...And That Blue Will Turn to Red deliver on that promise? Well, I would have to say that, by and large, yes it has and it is a massive leap forward when compared to the debut.
The first difference is that the production this time round is much improved from the debut and sounds powerful, yet has an impressive clarity that allows all the band member's contributions to distinctly be heard. The rhythm section of bassist Cristoffer Pinto and Villanueva are the particular benefactors of this improvement in production values. Pinto's bass throbs along, providing a super-solid foundation from which the others can weave their magic. Villanueva's drumming is possibly the biggest revelation for me on this record, it is furious yet controlled and is much more than just straightforward pummelling. His work here is reminiscent of Dave Lombardo and praise for a thrash metal drummer doesn't get much higher than that does it?
Of course, what we all turn to thrash metal for is the riffs isn't it and here Parkcrest certainly deliver, firing them off like they're going out of style from a seemingly inexhaustible supply. There may not be quite as many as on, say, Time Does Not Heal, but they certainly come thick and fast. Guitarist Javier Salgado doubles up as vocalist and his harsh, barking vocal style is particularly reminiscent o f Kreator's Mille Petrozza and, in fact, I have seen several plausible comparisons to Kreator, Slayer and early Sepultura and while they do take inspiration from these more aggressive purveyors of thrash, their sound is distinctly their own with a degree of technicality coupled with the aforementioned aggressiveness, this being a hallmark of the "Chilean sound" it would seem.
The songwriting is fantastic with several really great tracks on here, the opening duo of Impossible to Hide and Darkest Fear are a killer opening salvo and the instrumental Dwelling of the Moonlights may be my favourite thrash track since the early nineties. This is an album with a surfeit of riffs coupled with searing, meteoric soloing and a tempo that is unrelenting. I don't say this often but this is a modern thrash offering that is more than capable of holding it's own against all but the very best the genre has ever produced and Parkcrest comfortably sit in the vanguard of the latest thrash metal revitalisation.
I won't be submitting any tracks for August Vinny. My month was consumed with my Southern Metal research & the only The Pit related release I listened to was the Sabbat feature which a) isn't on Spotify & b) would be too long anyway.
This may be the first playlist that features a track from each of the big four and their contributions show why they are so-called - Slayer and Metallica both turning in genre-defining contributions. There's a few other big names too - Sodom, Sepultura and Possessed are all represented by kick-ass tracks too. Revelation of the list though must go to the final track from Terminalist - absolutely loved this one. All around, another damn fine list Vinny - thanks a lot.
After seeing Daniel's reviews and genre-taggings in the Southern Metal thread, I felt like doing the same thing for one of the most stylistically divided albums I've heard from one of my favorite bands:
It's been 3 years since I've reviewed this album where after the modern metalcore sound of their first 2 albums, Trivium branched out into mostly a scream-reduced thrash metal Crusade with their third album. I had never really submitted this album to the Hall of Judgement because 1. I had a couple other judgement submissions in my mind that each involved a Trivium album, and 2. I respect their status as a metalcore band and at the time didn't dare to propose getting one of their albums removed from The Revolution. So before I declare Judgement Submission Day on this album, here's how I would tag the genres in the 13 tracks:
1. Ignition - technical thrash metal
2. Detonation - technical thrash/progressive metal
3. Entrance of the Conflagration - technical thrash/speed metal
4. Anthem (We are the Fire) - classic heavy/speed metal
5. Unrepentant - thrash metal
6. And Sadness Will Sear - mid-tempo heavy metal
7. Becoming the Dragon - thrash metal with melodic metalcore bridge and power metal lyrics
8. To the Rats - thrash metal
9. This World Can't Tear Us Apart - 7-string heavy metal semi-ballad
10. Tread the Floods - technical thrash/progressive metal
11. Contempt Breeds Contamination - thrash/groove metal
12. The Rising - arena rock-style heavy metal
13. The Crusade - 7-string instrumental progressive/technical thrash/speed/heavy metal
So based on what I've analyzed, I can consider Trivium's The Crusade a mix of genuine thrash, tech-thrash, and classic heavy metal with some secondary speed/progressive metal influences. The closest thing to metalcore this album even remotely has in the screamed pre-solo bridge in "Becoming the Dragon", so I have no idea what came to dozens of RYM users' minds to vote in melodic metalcore. So yeah, it's time for another judgement submission coming soon...
I can vividly remember my first encounter with Japanese blackened thrash legends Sabbat’s fifth & most ambitious album to the time. I’d been aware of Sabbat through the tape trading scene for some time but can’t say that I’d ever really bought into their largely cult following. They’d created a real buzz around the underground due to their undoubted First Wave of Black Metal street credibility however I can’t say that I was ever comfortable that their package could justify comparisons with the elite exponents of extreme metal at a time when that scene was at its peak. By 1996 though that scene was starting to descend from its position of prominence & perhaps that’s why Sabbat felt the need to throw the rule book out the window & produce something truly remarkable with a single hour-long piece that contains so many disparate ideas that you may find your head spinning after a while.
Sometimes music can be just a bit of simple fun that you don’t have to put too much investment in to & at others it can be a genuinely fascinating piece of art whose aim is to change a person & not just in positive ways. It can attempt to get inside your head & mess with the connections, taking you to weird & wonderful places you never imagined, some of them so foreign & surreal that you feel a level of discomfort. Well, “The Dwelling” certainly falls into the latter category as it’s never happy to sit on its laurels & wants to be everything at once, even though that approach definitely comes at a cost. You see, love it or hate it, to describe this record as blackened thrash is doing it a disservice in my opinion. There’s no question that it’s driven by a strong First Wave of Black Metal pedigree but it’s also incredibly expansive & ambitious, far more than Sabbat were capable of at the time in all honesty. Personally, I hear very little genuine thrash metal here with the majority of the thrashier parts sitting more comfortably under the early black metal banner than the thrash one. There’s definitely a classic heavy metal influence to this record that sees it veering much closer to speed metal with a number of parts reminding me of the blackened version of speed metal we heard on the first Bathory record with a punkier Motorhead/Venom feel to quite a few of the faster riffs & much less of the rhythmic precision & complexity we’ve come to expect from thrash. Then you have the extended lead guitar excursions & the just plain outrageously weird progressive rock experimentation which have been pulled straight out of a 70’s prog rock playbook & these are significant enough to command the progressive metal tag in my opinion. Those long guitar solo sections absolutely reek of Mercyful Fate worship only Sabbat are nowhere near as capable at their craft so they end of coming off as very loose & a little amateurish too at times.
The vocal delivery takes a number of directions. I really enjoy the Quorthon-esque black metal approach that sees the words spat out with evil intent. I can’t say that the high-pitched attempts at King Diamond worship get anywhere the mark they’re aiming for though & they end up becoming pretty annoying. The bass guitar work has some very interesting moments when it decides to run off on its own & tell a different story to the other two band members. Unfortunately though, I find a lot of “The Dwelling” to sound too raw & loose in its execution. That may be fine for your average underground extreme metal release but this one is trying for something far more sophisticated & the band simply aren’t anywhere near capable of pulling it all together. It sounds completely improvised a lot of the time but then you’ll see them go into some extravagant changes as a unit & you realise that it can’t be, at least not entirely. There are timing issues across the board, perhaps not major ones but enough to keep me wondering if they’re about to completely drop the ball & have to start again.
For all its failings, “The Dwelling” is a really interesting release. It’s just not all that enjoyable for me personally as I struggle with many of its quirks. It sounds like a few dudes got really drunk, took a mushroom each, pressed record & jammed away for an hour to see what came of it. I admit that idea does sound kinda cool in theory but the reality sees me failing to connect with a lot of it & wanting more professionalism in the execution. Now if anyone goes into a Sabbat record wanting professionalism then they’re clearly barking up the wrong tree which is why I’ve always found myself at odds with “The Dwelling” because I clearly want it to be something that was never going to be. I suspect that some of our other regulars may not fall into that same trap though which is why I picked it for this month’s feature release as I look forward to hearing some different views on this intriguing & unique example of progressive black/speed metal.
Far from being regular in appearing on my thrash metal rotation, Every Nerve Alive is one of those albums that whilst I recognise the functional quality of, I find very little in the way of need to revisit it. There is much to enjoy on this the bands sophomore release as they hack their way through eleven tracks of rampant thrash metal. Capturing the very essence of thrash metal throughout this record is an absolute joy to listen to whilst it is on. This sounds like a dumb statement I know, however I feel this is relevant as to why I rarely revisit the album. I put it on the other week for the first time in a while and was instantly caught up in how aggressive and utterly relentless it was, how it did not necessarily do anything new and simply did an established blueprint really well. However, unlike Slayer or Kreator, as soon as the record was done, it was gone from the memory banks more or less instantly. A right romp it may be for forty-three minutes but its longevity is really short and is the kind of album that I can only enjoy in the moment as it leaves no distinct aftertaste that makes me savour any of the content beyond the duration of the meal. There may well be a period of me patting my stomach after this meal but certainly zero recollection of why it was so good until I go back and order the same thing again. For this reason I am knocking my score down to a 3.5/5 from the 4 I previously applied to it.
I was taking my sabbatical from metal when Exodus returned for their long-awaited & highly anticipated comeback album after twelve years in the musical wilderness but I made sure to check it out as soon as I returned five years later as by all accounts "Tempo Of the Damned" was somewhat of a minor classic & a definite return to form. I have to admit that the reality isn't quite as impressive as all that though & I think there's definitely a fair few people that got over-excited about the idea of Exodus returning to the studio in much the same way as they did about the lineup for Testament's "The Gathering" album. What we have here is a well produced & performed, meat-&-potatoes Exodus thrash metal record but it rarely leaves the impression of being particularly classic. In fact, there are a couple of tracks that I find to be pretty flat in the the revamp of the old Kirk Hammett-contributed number "Impaler" & the groove metal inspired "Shroud of Urine". That's not the only reference to groove metal either as it's not hard to pick up on the influence of Pantera in their idols' sound at several points across the tracklisting but my preference is definitely towards the thrashier material, particularly the mid-paced moshpit style stuff that the band grew up cutting their teeth on (see album highlight "Sealed With a Fist" for example). That classic Exodus guitar tone is certainly still going strong & it gives the riffs the sort of definition that only the Holt/Hunolt combination knows how. Their guitar solos are right on the money too & inevitably represent the high point of the more filler-oriented material. Steve Souza's vocals are positively gnarly at times & I really love it when he gets his attitude on. Unfortunately his screamier moments are pretty weak & unappealing though & I'd recommend that he sticks to what he does best in future rather than pushing himself so far outside of his limited comfort zone.
While "Tempo Of The Damned" is certainly gonna offer a fair bit of appeal for diehard thrash metal fans who crave the glory days of the mid-1980's & also possesses a little something for the early 90's groove metal crowd too, I just don't think it's on the same level as a record like 1987's very solid Pleasures Of The Flesh", let alone genuine classics like "Bonded By Blood" or "Fabulous Disaster". It's a well-executed if inessential thrash record that will keep their existing fanbase salivating but is unlikely to convert an entirely new supporters.
The wife was out of the house this afternoon so I took the opportunity to smash the latest The Pit playlist out really loud while cleaning the house & playing with the kids. I really enjoyed it too just quietly. The classics at the start set the scene very nicely & as I progressed through the set I found myself jumpin' around to bands like Thrasherwolf, Vio-lence, Demoniac, Kreator, Eradicator, Cryptosis, Expander, Ektomorf & particularly the new one from Sadistic Ritual which I didn't know was out & was probably the find of the set for me personally.
I wouldn't consider every album here Speed Metal (Slayer and Whiplash are pure Thrash to me) but for simplicity sake I included everything that falls under that umbrella, especially because it's one of the harder to define genres. Mine is likewise exclusively 80's albums, not purposefully but I guess that's when the genre really peaked.
In some ears, Municipal Waste's debut full-length may play as a dumb-as-shit fuck about record that lacks much in the way of thought. For me it is a great representation of their political and social agitation that did not require any polish or predictable form. Put simply the band just offload on this album. They use a grind mentality to the delivery of the fifteen tracks here whilst deploying the requisite catchy chops and riffs to add variety. With some tracks clocking in at under a minute (Death Prank is a mere eleven seconds) and the longest track being one minute and thirty seconds it is a blinding experience to behold and I have no problem with this. Fifteen tracks in fifteen minutes seems like a perfect album for a thrash head like me and serves purpose as both a great "tea-break blast" record as well as a scathing social commentary at the same time.
Based on what I have heard to date of MW, I prefer this release to their beer-guzzling shenanigans on The Art of Partying. Despite its length the debut seems to have a lot more to say and feels more important in developing an understanding of the roots of the band. The album also picks up momentum nicely as it rolls along with the middle section being by far the strongest. It does tend to fade away towards the end but not in a way that ruins the overall experience. Whilst not the most mature sounding record on the face of it, Waste 'Em All does have depth to it if you care to delve into it and tracks like Drunk As Shit really are not representative of the whole in terms of the more sarcastic and dark undertones to the record.
Looks like my 2001-2003 quest just took an upward curve.
That Demoniac has been on my to do list since I saw Sonny's high praise so I am throwing it on now to see what all the fuss is about. Sight of that nearly 20 min track puts me off though.
I gave this a spin and all was well in the main...until that saxophone came into play. Utterly unnecessary and completely out of place; it adds nothing to this album other than to distract from the good stuff that is going on. These guys can play and entertain me enough without going avant-garde and my attention was held pretty much for most of the final track which I was dreading as I alluded to. They are an established artist and it shows and in all seriousness, props to them for trying something different but I just cannot contextualise it in the grander scheme of what is going on and so after just one listen, I have lost all interest.
I enjoy a good amount of conventional and technical thrash metal, and looking at how many Pit releases I've rated, in the slightly possible event that my Guardians interest flops (as it already seems that way) and I feel up to having that clan replaced in my 4-clan lineup, The Pit might be a potential option for me. Then again, I'm more focused on the lesser-known and underground bands as opposed to the greater thrash giants in your list, Daniel. Anyway, here's my top 5:
Despite my long-established love of thrash metal and my affection for punk, I have never really been much of a fan of crossover thrash, not helped by early exposure to SOD and their fucking awful Speak English or Die. I have probably only heard about twenty or thirty crossover albums and have rated very, very few above average. Even DRI's own Thrash Zone didn't really register too highly on my cool-shitometer. Well, finally it has come to pass that I have found a crossover album that strikes a chord with me and that I can actually get more out of than a simple shrug of the shoulders. The album takes the hardcore sensibilities of an album like Suicidal Tendencies self-titled debut (that ST themselves never even got close to bettering) and, using awesome-sounding thrash riffs, forges a frenetic, heavy-as-hell, spit-in-the-eye, fuck-you of an album. I mean, the guitar sound here is phenomenally powerful and is what really sets this apart from most other crossover albums I've heard. This is exactly the sort of album that makes me forget my knees are fucked and makes me want to mosh my ass off round the living room - I don't know about feeling like a teenager again, shit, I'll settle for thirty!!
If I had much of a criticism then I think they should have trimmed ten minutes off it - it should be illegal for crossover albums to be over 35 minutes long. Oh, and the CD had one of those fucking irritating hidden tracks on it that you had to wait twenty minutes to get to.
Listened to The Pit playlist this afternoon whilst laying patio slabs in the garden and a damn fine list it is too. Nice work Vinny, really enjoyed it, the first half in particular which just piled great track on great track. In truth, there wasn't a single track I could honestly say I didn't enjoy to one extent or another. There's not much more you can ask for in a two-hour playlist really.
I listened to this whilst out with the dog this month so I didn't have a tracklisting to hand whilst it was playing. It started off a bit slowly for me, unless it was the presence of Seek & Destroy early in the list laying waste to the tracks around it. It still grieves me greatly to recall what happened to Metallica when listening to their early stuff and how they completely shat on their own legacy. Anyway, it took Kreator to really shake me out of my reverie and from then on things really went up a gear. Old favourites like Venom, Sadus, Holy Terror and Hallows Eve interspersed with some less familiar ass-kickers like Dekapitator, At War and Cryptic Shift hit the spot.
The couple of groove metal tracks from Alien Weaponry and Biohazard didn't do too much for me unfortunately. Then we have a couple of bands I've only heard about and never bothered with as I didn't think they were that serious. Austrian Death Machine's Get to the Choppa is actually pretty good though and not at all what I expected (when will I learn?) I remember seeing Lawnmower Deth everywhere at one point in the eighties (here in England anyway) but thought that they sounded a bit silly - and so they are, although this is actually quite a fun track I don't know if I could take a full album or if it would rub me up the wrong way like M.O.D.
Things then get real and we have a pretty solid run to the end. I've never heard or heard of Détente before, but I quite dug the punk/thrash vibe they exhibited here. Of course we end with a classic Slayer track, which has my second favourite Slayer intro (Raining Blood being #1).
Whilst no expert producer, nor a skilled musician myself there are two things likely to kill my enjoyment of an album in an instant. Poor production has its place in extreme music as we all know but clumsy and plain amateur efforts have no place anywhere (it’s not the eighties anymore folks) and Hellfekted (more on that later) just simply have no idea what they are doing with production. Horribly compressed to the point of it sounding like everything is being played through thick material, Woe to the Kingdom of Blood is over-burdened with a terrible production job from the second that promising intro stops.
Their sound is not that raw to justify them being able to get away with this and I hear little blackened style here beyond the vocals in all honesty. With clearly a limited repertoire of musical ideas and skills, Hellfekted become exposed very quickly with no sheen being to be applied to at least attempt to mirror their sloppy playing and predictable direction. Flitting between thrash metal and the occasional burst of NWOBHM the band seem to lurch around for the whole of the eight tracks on show. The bass which sits at the front most of the time soon loses its appeal and becomes grating and the horrible thocking of the drums just makes me want to claw my ear drums out.
Vocally there is not much to write home about either. The scathing attack soon becomes blunted along with everything else and as perhaps the most unaffected element in terms of that production job they really should carry this album a lot better than they do. I cannot help but feel that Hellfekted are just not ready for a full-length release yet and that they would be far better off sticking to an EP format, or even a split for the time being.
The band name is just nonsense and highlights the clear immaturity in the band. That artwork just contributes to this notion that the band are simply stretching themselves far beyond their capabilities and for a debut album they have probably done everything they should not have. Props for putting your own release out but I would suggest a lot more rehearsing and a lot of time on the road would help no ends here.
Yet another quality Pit playlist this month. Plenty of classics to enjoy, but I particularly enjoyed the run of tracks from the new Vio-lence to the Hostility track - some lesser known stuff that seriously kicks ass. I can honestly say there wasn't a single track that I disliked. Shout out to the Iron Reagen track - not heard it before and it's the best I've heard from the band yet. Well done Vinny!
Released in 1994, Allegiance's debut was a bit late to the thrash metal party. By then the binmen were carting the empty bottles away and cleaners were mopping the pools of puke up from the moshpit floor. There was an explosion of exciting and blasphemous new shit coming from the icy wastes of Scandinavia and doom was spreading over the world. To release a debut of pretty standard sounding, albeit fairly well done, Bay Area worship at this point in time meant that Allegiance were never likely to make much of a splash beyond their own shores and prove the old adage that "timing is everything".
The album's temporal misfortunes aside, it is very well done and all involved are impressively competent musicians. The vocalist, for the most part, seems to utilise the intonations of Hetfield and Chuck Billy for that authentic Bay Area sound and the rhythm section is solid. It is the guitar work that makes this worth listening to however with some cool riffing and impressively executed guitar leads.
On the downside there are of course the sparsely used, but ridiculously out-of-place death growls which I'm surprised they stuck with because they sound so jarring in this context. Furthermore, I'm sorry to say that the songwriting didn't exactly overwhelm me either. Although each track is well perforrmed and is inherently fine, I didn't feel as if anything jumped out and grabbed me by the throat and at album's end I struggled to recall anything truly killer.
If it had been released six or seven years earlier it may have been able to stand proudly alongside second-rung stuff like Exodus, but even the titans of thrash were disintegrating into mediocrity or reaching beyond the genre's borders at this point in time, so D.e.s.t.i.t.u.t.i.o.n was always destined for relative obscurity it seems. I would love to be able to claim it is some kind of undiscovered and ill-ignored gem, but in truth I found it to be well-executed but unexceptional Bay Area worship that would struggle to find much purchase outside that scene's most ardent devotees.
Yeah, the nostalgic edge to Nekromantheon's sound harks back to Morbid Saint, Dark Angel, (early) Slayer and there is also a hint of Possessed also. It is an album that makes no apologies for wearing it's influences on its sleeves. Cryptosis deserve some credit for essentially reinventing themselves (not technically a debut Xeph, they have been around since 2013 as Distillator - a much less progressive guise) and nailing it first time.
Nekromantheon is the clear winner for me, as good as Enforced and Cryptosis were last year it is Nekromantheon who edge it. Didn't get the hype around Steel Bearing Hand in all honesty and haven't heard Evil in fairness. Might get round to it at the weekend.
It's been fun to return to this record after so many years. I still really enjoy it too. It's not a perfect thrash album as it has its flaws but its very hard to deny the youthful electricity on display. It's very obvious that Sadus decided to make it their own personal mission to outdo "Reign In Blood" & "Darkness Descends" in the speed department as they really throw the kitchen sink at it. The consistently high velocity makes the short run time pretty much essential & ensures that I don't get bored. The execution & production are a little inconsistent & lack the polish of the tier ones. Although Steve DiGiorgio's bass playing is a real highlight of the Sadus sound, I have to say that he doesn't sit all that well in the mix here. He's too far forward in my opinion. I do love Darren Travis' psychotic vocals though. Boy he can spit out some words in quick succession & the Slayer-esque guitar solos take some of these songs to another level of extremity. I think the main appeal of a record like "Illusions" is that it just sums up the era so beautifully, a time that I was going through the most exciting period of musical discovery in my lifetime & one that I'll always treasure.
With Daniel and Sonny again doing a sterling job with their selections this month, putting together the playlist was again really enjoyable. I got a feel for some more blackened themes running through the list this month with the inclusion of Ketzer, Eternal Evil, Craven Idol and Sabbat all falling into their places as I built the list for the month. Controversially perhaps, I hear very little thrash in that Craven Idol track and having listened through the album again I would say it leans more towards black / heavy metal but still a great track regardless so was happy to keep in the list.
I am still struggling to place the groove metal stuff but as my knowledge (if not necessarily my taste) for this stuff grows I expect that will become easier. Highlight of the month for me is being able to tee-up Sadus followed by Morbid Saint as well as being reminded what a great (and sadly overlooked by myself) album The Gathering is.
Pretty solid playlist this month. Some nice discoveries - I really dug the Scarecrow track, Korzus, High Command and Mortal Vision were great too. Obviously it's always good to hear the classics: Demolition Hammer, Xentrix, Messiah, Slayer and Mutilator are always welcome. I obviously didn't like the Prong track as much as the rest of you guys and the one-two of Carnivore and Bezerker tested my patience a little. Plenty to enjoy though and a great way to spend a couple of hours - nice one Vinny!
Unstoppable Power is definitely more than solid and is above every other random, average Thrash record in every way. The energy and aggression is there, the vocals are more passionate than most, the bass lines are great, and the riff progressions and transitions on tracks like "Chained Victims" are fantastic. In terms of the older-school, messier production, my only complaint is that the cymbals sound extremely blown out to the point where I wasn't enjoying it, but I could get through it most of the time. I can see how this would be a deep cut hit for massive Thrash fans, but I fall on the same side as Saxy in that this is kind of just another Thrash album for me, even though I'll give it more praise overall. While it's extremely consistent in quality, none of the songs really jumped out at me other than "Chained Victims", leaving Unstoppable Power as a nice experience that probably isn't going to stick with me.
It's starting to become pretty apparent why I tend to lean towards Thrash Metal hybrids like Tech Thrash or Thrashy Death Metal, since a pristine old school Thrash package leaves me feeling like something is missing.