Review by Daniel for Ritual Carnage - Every Nerve Alive (2000)
I'm sure you already know what I think of this release without having to wait for my synopsis Ben as it's clearly right up my alley. I first encountered this Japanese thrash metal outfit on the tail end of my tape trading years through their debut album "The Highest Law" & seem to recall that it took up the B-side of a cassette that had Witchery's "Restless & Dead" album on the other side if I'm not mistaken. I remember quite liking it although I don't think it commanded too many replays after the first few listens. It was enough to have me flicking through this sophomore album when I returned to metal in 2009 though & I found "Every Nerve Alive" to more than satisfy my thrash metal itch by well & truly living up to its title. I haven't returned to it since for one reason or another but needless to say that I'm very glad I have now because this record poses a strong challenge to Sabbat in regard to the Japanese thrash crown.
You won't find anything too original here. In fact, you'll regularly find yourself picking out riffs that have been copped from Slayer, Kreator or Dark Angel albums but the material is played with conviction & authenticity throughout & it's clear that Ritual Carnage have a deep understanding of the classic thrash metal ethos. Despite many people online wanting to tag "Every Nerve Alive" as death/thrash there really isn't much death metal here apart from one section of "Escape From the Light" which reminds me very much of Bolt Thrower. The vocals are certainly gruff but I don't think that overcomes the fact that musically Ritual Carnage rarely stray from the thrash metal blueprint. They admittedly champion a pretty brutal thrash sound though & one that draws equally from the more extreme US bands & the rawer Teutonic scene. Closing track "Far East Aggressors" is the only track that deviates from that model much, instead opting for a more simplistic attempt at speed metal & unfortunately failing in this endeavor but I really dig the rest of "Every Nerve Alive" with "Death, Judgement, Fate" being the clear highlight & representing a truly classic Japanese thrash metal track in its own right. Despite some pretty cool guitar solos, the riff structures & drumming can often sound a little basic but if you enjoy the more extreme end of thrash then you can do a lot worse than "Every Nerve Alive".
For fans of Slayer, Kreator & Morbid Saint.