Here at Angry Metal Guy Industries, it’s not a goal nor policy to bitch about the current state of the modern thrash scene. Sure it may seem common for the disgruntled thrash enthusiasts among us to decry the lack of potency and standout acts currently operating, but after a particularly lackluster year for the genre in 2018, who could blame us? Although we all love and respect the genre’s marvelous ’80s heyday and the myriad of timeless albums that particular decade produced, thrash shouldn’t just be some endless fucking nostalgia trip either. Necropanther probably released the best thrashy album I heard last year, but it doesn’t exactly qualify as straight-up thrash either. Meanwhile the future of the mighty Vektor remains clouded in uncertainty. But I’m determined to forage around the promo portal throughout the year and hopefully stumble across a thrash album deserving of high praise. Perhaps a new shining light to guide us to a pot of gold at the end of the thrash rainbow. First cab off the rank is little-known Luxembourg band Fusion Bomb and their debut LP, Concrete Jungle.
What I do like about thrash, regardless of dubious quality levels, is the fact most bands plying their trade sound like they are having an absolute blast. Fusion Bomb is another prime example, embracing the genre’s classic past with feisty energy and riffy fun on vibrant opener “Zest of Scorn.” Yes aside from some modernized production elements, this shit is predictably mined from the ’80s, landing Fusion Bomb very much in the retro thrash category. There’s hints of Exodus and some crossover flair thrown into the pot, but unfortunately the song-writing struggles to elevate the band into more interesting realms of intrigue, despite their best efforts and a series of solid, if unspectacular tunes.
Compact in construction, Fusion Bomb keep it relatively simple and avoid bloated song lengths, paring this thrasher down to a lean 36 minutes, sans worthless filler tracks. I will contest that Fusion Bomb, for all their confident thrash swagger, aren’t able to lift themselves into the upper tier of modern thrash. Yet Concrete Jungle is not without merit or retro charm. The tempos are blazing, snarling ’80s thrash vox spit venom, while the riffs are churned out thick and fast. Overall the musicianship is top-notch and the band sound like they are held together by fierce chemistry and obvious passion for their craft. Although there’s some fine moments of beefy mid-tempo grooves, Fusion Bomb sound most effective at high speed, ramping-up the intensity and energy levels on vibrant, riff-centric cuts, such as “Blazing Heat,” the punky “You’re a Cancer to This World,” and short but sweet blast of “TMNA.”
The cartoon Devil vs. Angel on the shoulders scenario kept popping into my head during my time with Concrete Jungle. On one hand, Fusion Bomb have crafted an energetic, tightly performed album of throwback thrash ditties, armed with some decent riffs, wild solos, solid production, and requisite thrash elements screwed solidly into place. Yet, Fusion Bomb fail to generate much excitement beyond surface level temporary enjoyment, nor do they add anything fresh to a genre in dire need of bands willing to push the envelope and not simply rest on nostalgia trips.
For all its strengths and simple headbanging fun, Concrete Jungle seems highly unlikely to stick around my rotation past the completion of this assignment. The songs are solidly entertaining, but are not distinctive or memorable enough to suggest any great staying power, while the vocals sound a bit forced and grating on occasion. Retro thrash diehards may find enough sneering attitude, old school riffage and blazing tempos to satiate their thrashlust, but Fusion Bomb, for all their passion, talents and tongue in cheek humor, can’t quite win this jaded thrash fiend over with this competent but unexciting debut.