Fastkill // Bestial Thrashing Bulldozer
Rating: 2.5/5.0 — How many albums like this do you really need?
Label: Pulverised Records
Websites: myspace.com  |  facebook.com
Release Dates:  EU: 2012.07.09 | US: 08.14.2012

Thrash metal is a genre that’s near and dear to my cold, blackened heart. I grew up listening to the Big Four (or six, whatever), and to this day, a good down-picked riff will put a mischievous grin on my face. When it comes to reviewing present-day thrash records, however, that grin disappears quickly. Just as some of my AMG colleagues have shit-listed black metal for becoming stale and redundant, I feel that thrash reached it’s logical conclusion about 20 years ago, and with a few notable exceptions (Vektor comes to mind, so does Revocation), most modern thrash is about as relevant as a Civil War re-enactment. So I was not particularly excited about Bestial Thrashing Bulldozer, the new album by Japan’s Fastkill.

These guys have been around since the late ’90s, and they are nothing if not competent. They know exactly what the boundaries of thrash metal are, and they don’t fuck with them. The drummer plays a standard one-two thrash beat. The guitarists kick out fast, Slayer-esque riffs. No wanky progressive parts, no eight-minute epics, and no goddamn ballads. Oh, and there’s a song called “In Thrash We Trust.” If you don’t already know exactly what this sounds like, you should leave the fucking hall [quoting Manowar in a retro thrash review? Well played sir!Steel Druhm]. That dedication to thrash’s established parameters is one of Fastkill’s strengths, but also their greatest weakness. This album is only 30 minutes long, made up mostly of songs that are under three minutes, yet it starts to feel same-y [That’s it! Never again! “Same-y”? You’re fired! — AMG] and dragging at about the halfway point. Part of the problem is that all of the tracks on Bestial are nearly identical in tempo and composition, and it starts to blur together after a while.

It’s worth mentioning that vocalist Toshio Komori may be an acquired taste for some of you. His vocal approach could best be described as the unholy love child of Steve “Zetro” Souza (Exodus) and Mickey Mouse (Disney). Remember Annihilator’s “Alison Hell?” Now imagine just the “AAAAAAAHHHH” from the word “Alison,” except it goes for a half hour. That’s pretty much what you’re dealing with here.

The end result is a raw, workmanlike thrash album, somewhere between Reign In Blood and perhaps the more mosh-worthy parts of Fabulous Disaster. I give all the credit in the world to Fastkill for their devotion to thrash as an art form — they predate the ‘re-thrash’ movement by many years and their motivations are pure. But in this day and age, where everyone and their mom is in a retro thrash band (FYI my mom’s band is named You Never Call), does any of that matter?

If you’re anything like me, you may ask, “do we really need another fucking record like this in the world?” On the other hand, if you just want something to listen to on a Saturday night while you pound 26 shots of Jäger and smash furniture with your forehead, this album will certainly do the trick.

As a side note, there should be some kind of drinking game involving album covers that have some kind of skull guy driving a tank. Here’s one. Here’s another. And another. Oh, and obviously this. Maybe this drinking game will lead to the emergency room. Did we miss any? [yep, this one. You can tank me laterSteel Druhm]

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