An extreme metal super-group from down under? Intriguing eh mates? Assaulter is a slightly blackened thrash band featuring S. Berserker, formerly of Destroyer 666 on guitar, bass and vocals and Peter Hunt, formerly of Razor of Occam on drums. For the Australian extreme metal scene that’s pretty super indeed. Boundless is their second album under this moniker and it’s a hefty slice of good old fashioned thrashing lunacy with enough black metal and Middle Eastern influences to make them stand out from the likes of Legion of the Damned and their modern thrash brethren. After never hearing of these guys before, this impressed me enough that I felt compelled to track down the debut as well and I feel on solid ground saying they’re onto something here sound wise. It’s not reinventing the blackened thrash wheel or doing anything truly revolutionary but this is still some solidly ugly, brutal stuff and well executed at that.
As soon as opener “Entrance” makes its appearance, you’re met with a nasty sounding guitar tone and the caustic vox of S. Berseker who sounds a lot like Kreator’s Mille circa Pleasure to Kill (and that my friends, is a compliment). The style is fast and very heavy with a really evil, buzzing rawness to it. From there, they deliver track after track of hostile thrash with above average songwriting chops and also show off some technically proficient playing, especially the lead work and solos by T. Hellfinder (check out the guitar work on “Outshine,” “Slave to King” and “Perpetual War” in particular). The highlights include “Into Submission” which is one of the best thrash songs I’ve heard in awhile, “Slave to King” with a distinctly Middle Eastern flavor reminiscent of Melechesh and “Outshine” which reminded me of Evil Invaders era Razor material. Also of note is the extra long closing track “The Great Subterfuge.” At over eight minutes it pushes the limits of what is normally tolerable length for a thrash song but things are kept interesting, it has a increasingly epic sound to it and Berserker sounds particularly menacing and acid tongued throughout.
While their overall style has elements of the 80’s thrash sound, the odd blackened elements keep it from sounding dated. I honestly wouldn’t call it a retro album despite the fact that thrash has come to be regarded as a retro style. While the production here is plenty raw, I miss the much more raw sound heard on their debut (which sounded like old Hellhammer). However, what they lose in rawness, they make up for in superior songwriting and no track feels like filler and all have cool and memorable moments.
Boundless is an impressively nasty little surprise by some veterans of extreme music. Raw, ugly, hateful thrash with enough modern elements (black, not fucking metalcore) to make it interesting and satisfying in the year 2011. If you’re looking for a band to get into before your friends do so you can lord it over them, this is a good one. Boundless is superior to the new Legion of the Damned and on par with the new Destruction. Both this and their debut are very worthy of examination and should please most fans of extreme metal. Down under done good!