Suppressive Fire - Nature of WarGiven how great 2016 was for me personally, my resolution for the New Year, if I was forced to make one, would be to keep doing what I was doing but do even more of it. The more things stay the same, the more things keep coming up Milhouse Diabolus. With that in mind, 2017 is off to a great start! Case in point: just like 2016, my first review of the year’s subject is Raleigh’s Suppressive Fire. This time around the sun, these thrashers are hitting us with their sophomore record, Nature of War, after a remarkably quick turnaround. Contrary to clichés, Suppressive Fire isn’t slumping into this battle; they’re charging in with greater focus and, most importantly, more riffs.

While the Toxic Holocaust influence still looms large, Suppressive Fire doesn’t come across as a tribute act. Joel Grind’s punchy take on thrash is infused with the extremity of early Kreator and the chugging of Celtic Frost, with the latter finding itself sped up fairly often via being run through the Sodom filter and the former sounding overall less melodic. There are hints of early Metallica here as well, and the blackened thrash of Nocturnal Breed and Aura Noir is still present and accounted for, albeit less prominently than on Bedlam.

Last time around, I was less than enthused when Suppressive Fire tried their hand at mid-tempo songs. Fortunately, as “No Man’s Land” plainly shows, they have, for the most part, found what was missing there. Beginning on something recalling 80s heavy metal, it transitions into an early Warrior-style riff and then combines the two ideas before climaxing in some Frosty thrash with a quality solo over top. Album highlight “Nuclear Dismemberment” careens into straight-up Massacra territory convincingly, has the record’s best two leads, and finishes on the best Toxic Holocaust riff Mr. Grind never wrote. The title track recalls Sodom in a big way with Aaron Schmidt doing his best Onkel Tom impression vocally and Agent Orange looming large in the riffs. The guys are clearly having a ton of fun on this one, and it’s infectious.Suppressive Fire 2017

Despite my obvious enjoyment of what Suppressive Fire is doing here, there are some flaws that hold Nature of War back from being a great thrash record. “Earthripper” sounds like B-grade Kreator, and while this is fine it’s not noteworthy in any way. “Vesicant” has a puzzling beginning that rides a riff that veers straight into stoner territory before resuming the usual Suppressive Fire attack. Frustratingly, the parts after the intro are all good Sodom-style thrashing and chugging until bland Sabbath rears its head again, and it definitely harms the song. The almost punk-like blast of “Depraved” is energetic but doesn’t really go anywhere, riding a couple of quick and oddly nondescript riffs bolstered by Josh Bleek’s agile drum performance.

With Joel Grind at the production helm again, it’s unsurprising that Nature of War is a good and somewhat raw sounding record. Everything is audible, the drums sound good and live, and vocals are up front but not overpowering. Suppressive Fire has made a better record than their debut, and the highlights here have those on Bedlam handily beat. While Nature of War doesn’t have the unhinged appeal of records like Morbid Saint’s Spectrum of Death, it’s a largely well-written piece of thrash that’s definitely worth hearing and appreciating. The quick turnaround might suggest a rush job, but that doesn’t seem to be the case; Suppressive Fire keeps getting better, and if a song like “Nuclear Dismemberment” is any indication, they have an absolute ripper of an album in them yet.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Lost Apparitions Records
Websites: suppressivefire.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/suppressivefire
Releases Worldwide: January 23rd, 2017

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  • GardensTale

    Careful with all that namedropping there, DiM. Someone might accuse you of being… lazy.

    Not me, though. Good review!

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Good review? Someone might accuse you of giving him… a 3.0/5.0.

      Not me, though. Good comment!

      • Diego Molero

        Good reply!

        • Apt use of the adjective noun punctuation dynamic!

          • [not a Dr]

            Acceptable configuration of your keyboard!

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          U wanna take this outside moleman

          • Diego Molero

            Ha, Moleman, good one. But yeah, can’t decline a good fight. I mean, we are fighting, right?…

          • herrschobel

            i´ll grab a pint and watch this one unfold

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Lazy and provocative!

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        I strive for infuriating mediocrity!

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Mediocrity is infuriating indeed!

        • Brymstone

          Infuriating mediocrity is a boon as it makes me want to go search for other things!

  • Dr. Wvrm

    I’m glad these guys took a step forward. I enjoyed their debut and have been looking forward to this.

  • Dethjesta

    I quite liked their first album in places. Nuclear Dismemberment really is a superb track, kind of a shame the rest of the album doesn’t quite live up. Will, at least, be checking this out on bandcamp when it comes out though.

    Totally agree with the notion that these guys have a great album in them, hopefully soon.

  • Norfair Legend

    Was just listening to this yesterday, well, at least the songs on Bandcamp and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not sure it stands out enough for a purchase but I’m going to give it all a listen and decide. Was hoping you guys would give an opinion on it and there I go.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Tagged with “Ambient Metal”, intentional or nay? The only ambiance this is evoking for me is one of beer sweat, muffled ears and forming bruises.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    While I have nothing against Diabolus reviewing this (he did a fine job as usual), I would have liked it better for this being reviewed by one of the doctors on board so I could ask the question:
    Dear doctor, every time I listen to rethrash and a part comes up that sounds like Sodom, I want to go and listen to Sodom. Every time a part comes up that sounds like (prime) Slayer, I want to go and listen to Slayer. Every time a part comes up that sounds like (subprime) Slayer, I want to go and listen to (prime) Slayer. What is wrong? Is there a problem with me? Or is it the rethrash?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      There is no problem with you. You are in fine health.

      • Dr. Scorpion

        Or is the fine health in him? Thats kind of how most rethrash/modern thrash works. It doesn’t capture the raw glory of yore and neither does it deliver something novel. Existence of exceptions to generalisations/rules like the one aforementioned is a rule in itself. Now how the fuck does the radial artery enter the palmar aspect of the antebrachium?

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I do not know these words you are saying.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Thanks Doctor!

    • Treble Yell

      I’m not a doctor nor can I speak for the bands themselves but I imagine the catalyst for these throwback albums is that these retro-inspired bands grew up listening to classic thrash and as the titans of the genre (for the most part) no longer spin their magic like in their youth these young bands have taken it upon themselves to fill the void. It is 100% a valid argument that why not listen to the classics that served as inspiration rather than the imitations – and in many cases that is my feeling – but some bands manage to capture that certain something of these hallowed classics whilst adding their own unique spin. That is when you know you have something special that is both pleasingly familiar yet new and exciting at the same time. Capturing that feeling is I imagine is what drives these bands.

      • [not a Dr]

        I’m also not a doctor. I guess that the point of listening to recent rethrash would be to be able to see more thrash shows at a more affordable cost. They would also be prone to playing covers of your favorite oldies.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          We kind of guessed from your user name that you are not a Dr. ;)

      • Chaosgrid

        Treble pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as I’m concerned about modern thrash. It’s a sub-genre that suffers due to so many bands doing it, but very few do it right. With the lack of speed and aggressive from the old pioneers, it’s cool there’s been some bands popping up focused more on the aggressive side of thrash instead of the 2000’s party obsession.

    • herrschobel

      Yer metal is Olde ! thats how this specific condition is classified. Is it wrong ? As a Lover of old spirits from wooden barrels i´d say no. Still – if i may add – some of those new Thrash Bands sound better to my punk loving ears than the so called Titans of the Genre… esp. Toxic Holocaust …tis so boooom in face face it makes me giggle…something wrong with me ?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I don’t know, I’m not a doctor! Ask Dr. A.N. Grier! ;)
        (By the way AMG might consider having a Metal advice section called Ask the Doctors)

        • Dr. Wvrm

          We’re all of suspect and inferior tastes, so it would only be a matter of time before AMG considered deficits terminal and pulled all of our plugs.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Metal cred bonus points to you if the “pulled all of our plugs” part is a reference to the Death song.