Old-school thrash metal warms the cockles of my olde, sinewy heart. Canadian thrash warms them even more. Having grown up on a Canadian thrash diet of Exciter, Annihilator, Anvil, and others, a solitary tear comes to my eye when some young upstarts attempt to bring the glorious past back to life. When Vancouver thrashers Terrifier’s second album, Weapons of Thrash Destruction, landed in my promo bin, I donned my denim vest1, my studded leather wristbands, and my kamikaze headband, and I sat back in my lawn chair with the stereo volume beyond acceptable, hoping to be taken back to a simpler time in life.
It’s been six years since Terrifier’s first release, Destroyers of the Faith, and during that span the five-piece has had a lot of time to hone their craft. In fact, you can see YouTube videos of a handful of tracks from Weapons of Thrash Destruction dating back to 2013. These guys have put the “school” back in old-school thrash, having studied the ways of masters such as early Exodus and Slayer, along with “Metal Militia” era Metallica. The results are a speedy, ripping romp through the early 80s, with the appropriate subject matter influences firmly in place. Take opening track “Reanimator,” for instance: the band watched the movie, loved it, and wrote a song about it, just like every thrash act did in 1984. Lightning riffs, impossibly fast drumming, and a blood-curdling scream kick things off, and the band proceeds to go balls-out for the next 43 minutes.
The template has been set and Terrifier don’t want to deviate much at all. That’s a good thing. “Skitzoid Embolism” of course is based on “Total Recall” and pulls an intro sample right from the movie, with Arnold screaming, “You blew my cover!” Conan the Barbarian serves as the inspiration for album closer “Sect of the Serpent.” Much like olde-school thrash, the lyrics are entertaining, not sociologically pertinent. I mean, how seriously can you take a song entitled “Drunk as Fuck?” Singer Chase Thibodeau spews the words out with a nasal, sphincter-tightened, out of breath enthusiasm that suits the music perfectly, with the occasional growl thrown in for variety. Brent Gallant and Rene Wilkinson provide riffs galore here, fast, staccato, dual guitars hard-panned left and right just like they should be (the excellent “Violent Reprisal” best illustrates this), with plenty of variety and change-ups within and amongst the songs, along with vicious shredding. Kyle Sheppard’s drumming more than keeps up, with nightmarishly fast fills and glorious speed throughout. Bass is hinted at, and even present in a couple of songs (really, bass player in a thrash band may be the most inconsequential role in music), but Alexander Giles does an admirable job when audible.
If there’s anything that mars Weapons of Thrash Destruction, it’s the sense of sameness that settles in as the album progresses. Really, this can infect any thrash/speed record, with the same key, tempo, and vocal deliveries permeating almost every song. This is not a genre that thrives on variety, after all. Thankfully, as mentioned above, the nine songs here fly by in 43 minutes, and while a few of them could be stripped back by a minute or so, there’s nothing truly bad on the album. The aforementioned “Reanimator,” “Violent Reprisal,” “Skitzoid Embolism,” “Sect of the Serpent,” and the short change-up “Riders of Doom” are all standout tracks. Those not into thrash will find it a bit tiresome, but fans will be into the goofy lyrical themes and overall musical competency of Terrifier.
With new bands like Ranger, Striker, and Suppressive Fire all putting out well-received retro-thrash offerings over the past year it can be hard to keep pace, but Terrifier more than hold their own against these newcomers. The music is fast and tight, the riffs are complex and fun, the production, solos, and vocals are all spot-on, and there’s plenty of humor to boot. In other words, everything one should want from a thrash album is on Weapons of Thrash Destruction. Can it get tiresome after a while? Sure, if you listen to it more than once in a sitting, or if you’re not into thrash. But taken for what it is, Terrifier have released a very good platter of guilt-free speed for us olde fellows to enjoy.