Entrench Violent Procreation 01I got a bit sidetracked while writing this review trying to chart the rise of rethrash (thanks Encyclopaedia Metallum!). Since 2003, the proportion of thrash albums to all metal albums released per year has, perhaps surprisingly, stayed constant at around 16%. However, the proportion of new thrash bands to new metal bands forming per year (going back to 1995) peaked at 23% in 2006, and had shrunk to 14% last year. Entrench formed just prior to peak thrash in 2005, releasing a string of demos before unleashing their debut full length, Inevitable Decay, in 2011. What can my thrashnalysis tell us about their music? Fuck all really, but it’s some pretty good trivia, eh?

Entrench’s sound is a bit different from the rethrash crowd, influenced massively by the German Big Three as well as 80s death metal. Mix early Sodom and Kreator with a strong hint of Leprosy and a touch of Beyond the Gates and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Entrench sound like. The band have a good handle on both flat-out blasting and thrash groove, getting a good balance of both in most songs along with the odd Death riff (fifth track “Devoid of Life” being the best example of this blend). All good stuff, naturally. Utterly unoriginal, but the riffs come thick and fast, ensuring you’ll have a sore neck once the record has run its course.

The record is a lengthy 50 minutes, which for this style is pushing it. My absolute favorite Kreator-worship album is Sauron’s Thrash Assault, which runs a perfect twenty seven minutes, and sounds more raw, frenzied and dangerous than Entrenched (or any other thrash band since 2000) manage. You sense they’ve attempted to go a bit Time Does Not Heal on the songwriting front – the riff density is very high and several songs last over six minutes. While the riffs are good, they don’t manage the variety that Dark Angel pulled off on that particular masterpiece. The sole moment of respite from the thrash onslaught comes four and a half minutes into fourth track “Chemical Holocaust the Mental Wasteland,” when, as the guitars dwindle and the sound of the whistling wind fades in, a solo accordion starts up a folky, weirdly eerie little ditty.

Entrench Violent Procreation 02

The band have gone for a suitably raw feel production-wise, the buzzsaw guitars underpinned by natural drums and, of course, an almost total absence of bass – it’s both low in the mix and primarily copies the guitar lines so lacks any presence of its own. This is a shame, and where the band could have paid more attention to their proto-death metal forebears. Scream Bloody Gore might have been a dreadfully muffled racket, but the bass was (almost) always audible and provided some balance to the outrageously trebly guitars. Violent Procreation doesn’t achieve that balance; the guitar fizz, while initially fantastically aggressive, begins to grate after a while. The band members all turn in great performances, though you almost wish for a hint of the slight sloppiness that made the early German thrash records sound so dangerous.

How much you get out of this record will depend largely on your need for originality in your thrash. Entrench distinguish themselves from the new mosh crowd (I say new; Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust’s debuts came out 11 years ago) with their ambitious songwriting, death metal influences and raw production, and if you’re in the mood for something a bit scarier than your usual rethrash then this could well do the trick. Ultimately though, Entrench don’t quite do enough to make me think I’ll be listening to this a month from now.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: War Anthem Records
Websites: EntrenchOfficial | Facebook.com/Entrench
Release Date: Out Worldwide 11.21.2014

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  • Doomdeathrosh

    Well, given the fact that they are a rethrash band, they have “re-thrashed” early era Kreator and Bathory pretty well!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Also no orbs here!

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Seriously, what the fuck is that album cover?? Wow…

    • Modern art.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Best answer ever. Comparable to that giant blue bag with a tree limb coming out of it that I pass every day. I thought it was bulk pickup. Turns out it’s a giant hobo bag art piece.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I dig it and the logo too. Bands using a v instead of u shit me but turning your t into an upside down cross, well that gets me onside every time :)
      I like the embedded song too, very enjoyable. Its inpired me, Im now queuing up a playlist with Sodom Agent Orange, Destruction Release from Agony and Kreator pleasure to kill. Its gonna be a good day!

      • Lasse Momme

        check out demolition hammer, Morbid Saint and Solstice’s self-titled album as well, all are killer Deathrash records.

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          I actually did add them to the days playlist after reading your post above :) thrashed out to Tortured Existence and Spectrum of Death…I need to relax with some post metal now…

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      The cover is epic

  • Lasse Momme

    I kinda disagree with the premise of the score. since we are talking about “rethrash” I think you have to work within a different set of parametres than usually as far as innovation goes. I think that the best way to guage old school revival thrash is to compare it to the bands that they are musically closest to, in this case probably demolition hammer and Morbid saint, and honestly, duration of the record notwithstanding, and i do agree that 50 minutes is faaar to long for this kind of music, I think the songs hold up 100%, even compared to the classics that came before it. no, they’re not reinventing the wheel, but what they are doing is making very good classic deathrash that holds up when compared to the giants of the genre, and especially considering how piss poor most of the revival thrash being put out these days.

    • The fact you referenced both Demolition Hammer AND Morbid Saint makes you the Commenter of the Month! Pick up your plaque at reception.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      My thinking was basically that the music itself would probably be a 3 – maybe a high 3, but certainly not up to 3.5. They are good at what they do, but no better than good (I’d definitely go to see them live though). The length and production – which is raw enough but not in such an authentic way, sounds a bit synthetic – bring it down to 2.5. Possibly a little harsh, and I’m sure there are many who’ll enjoy this album, but as I said I don’t see myself coming back to it ever.

      I would also disagree that it holds up to the giants of the genre – it’s hardly a “Terrible Certainty” or “Darkness Descends”. 2nd tier perhaps… and I don’t think that the crapness of most rethrash is a good reason to bump this album’s score ;)

      • Lasse Momme

        I think where we “disagree” is in regards to what artists they should be compared to. I personally don’t really hear the Kreator or Dark Angel influences, they seem to me to have drawn far more from the American deathrash movement like the bands i posted in my original message. I think this is relevant because of the very box we’ve decided to put these kinds of bands into. rethrash. the term itself invites to look back and comparing to what came before it. If one draws a perspective to a different band, naturally the perception of the band changes, not necessarily in quality but in the nature of the album in question.

        let’s talk production since you already brought it up. When compared to Kreator or Dark Angel who, even moreso than other thrash bands, really embraces a raw production, sure, Entrench tend to come off as a bit forced. If you however look at Demolition Hammers “Epidemic Of Violence” (which is a fucking incredible album, btw) for example, the production is far more “clean” so to speak, and with the guitars being more highlighted in relation to the other instruments. Entrench’s sound has far more in common with those kinds of bands and therefore somewhat eliminates the synthetic elements of the production to me.

        As far as how you rated the quality of the songs I have no problem with your review, as it is a question of how you subjectively feel about the songs, even on a paragon og objectivicism such as AMG :p. some people will simply like some songs more than others, and I can’t at all fault that. My “problem” if you can call it that was more in relation to how the band should be viewed in relation to other thrash bands of the past and how that effected the review, and I have adressed that.

        Contrary to most review sites this one so great, because you get a chance to have a rational debate with the reviewers about the score and the album in general, even if we vehemently disagree about the quality of the record. shit, this is just an awesome site and I’m just happy that you are putting up so many bitchin’ reviews and are open to have an educated discussion on the subject matter!

        • Jean-Luc Ricard

          You are a scholar and a gentleman, sir.

          I have to disagree with you about them sounding more like the bands you mention than raw, early German thrash, though they are no doubt influenced by both. And the production is very much more “Endless Pain” or “Persecution Mania” to my ears than “Epidemic of Violence”. “Spectrum of Death” is closer, but also more raw and with more audible bass.

          Whichever of these bands/scenes we use for framing, I don’t think it would change my opinion of the music. Replace the references to old bands in the review with references to different old bands and I’d still write the rest of it the same. But it’s certainly interesting to think about.

          You’ve now got me listening to “Spectrum of Death” again, which can only be a good thing m/

        • Thanks for all the kind words! As I listen to this album I also hear a bit of Slaughter as well. Strappado is one of the most overlooked deaththrash gems ever.

  • OzanCan

    That’s some bad album cover art :/

  • We’ll see what we can do.