Written By: Nameless N00b_09
Slayer’s first few albums were bloody good weren’t they? I know it, you know it, and Californian death thrashers Laceration know it too. It’s all here, that slightly grating scooped-mids guitar tone, heaping helpings of shredding riffs, throat-ripping vocals. Not only that but these guys also enjoy quite a bit of early Metallica and Sepultura too, and chances are that if you’re a fan of any of that stuff, there will be something for you to enjoy on Remnants. California’s Bay Area is a well known melting pot for thrash metal and that fact is writ large on everything about Laceration, including the radical attitude in their straight from the 80’s band photo. Having formed initially in 2006, they’re back now from a five year hiatus with a new line-up and have set about working on material for a planned upcoming debut full length release. This means Remnants is a compilation album with material harvested from a handful of EPs and demos that include some of Laceration’s earliest material, and also tracks from a split EP with Tinnitus.
Remnants kicks off with such a recognizable thrash metal feeling that you’re quickly sucked into the riffage and nodding along to the albums twists and turns as if this was your 23rd listen to the album and not your first, it’s all so familiar, and not at all in a bad way. The opening trio of songs play out like an homage to early Slayer, and everything is in the right place. It’s clear Laceration know their way around a Flying-V (I don’t know what they play I’m just assuming here..) and very surprising they haven’t got any full length releases under their belts yet.
That said, while the first three tracks are excellently delivered with suitably angry lyrics and ferocious speed riffing I found myself hoping that Laceration had more than just this one arrow in their quiver. Thankfully the middle section of the album gives a nice change of pace starting with the quite excellent “Exhausted in Form” which takes a turn for the more progressive with a winding bassline and longer more complex overall structure. Speaking of basslines, this isn’t an album totally front loaded with guitar, vocals and snare: throughout the album some great bass work is prevalent and actually audible. “Hobo with a Shotgun” is another stand out track showcasing an almost groove metal undertone, breakneck leads and a snakelike tremolo picked main section. There’s furious, driving bass work and some particularly acerbic vocals from Luke Cazares.
Annoyingly though the fact that this is a compilation album is a little too noticeable with differences in mixes and instrument levels appearing at different points throughout. It might have been nice if Laceration had re-recorded or at least remixed these tracks to remove some of these inconsistencies. As it is some of the later tracks have a muffled less dynamic sound which unfortunately does hurt enjoyment towards the end of the disc especially after the standout tracks prior.
Obviously Remnants is a nice little teaser of what is to come with Laceration and it will be quite interesting to see what the band come up with on their first proper full length release. Hopefully the polish and superior instrumentation on some of the songs here shows the direction they are headed in–I think Laceration have a brighter future if they continue down a slightly more progressive path– rather than just endlessly chugging away at second rate Slayer riffs ad infinitude. There’s plenty of talent and skill here and with a little attention to detail and a few decent hooks their future initial release sounds very promising.