Deathrow

Armory – The Search Review

Armory – The Search Review

“Before the thrash explosion of the 80s truly took off under the guidance of rising stars like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, there was its ugly predecessor, speed metal. Basically, traditional metal played faster, speed metal often approximated the sound of a record spinning at the wrong speed. It was a loose, unrefined and fun style often lacking the hard-edge of thrash. I was sad to see it all but die out by 1987, and Sweden’s Armory apparently feel the same way, so they painstakingly recreated the speed metal sound on their sophomore outing, The Search.” Speed still kills.

Encyrcle – Encyrcle Review

Encyrcle – Encyrcle Review

“Speed metal wasn’t around long as a separate genre before it got absorbed into the more popular thrash bubble following the Bay Area explosion. Over the years the differences between the styles blurred, and while they’re slight, speed metal was always closer to classic metal in attitude with a greater emphasis on memorability and hooks. And that’s where Denmark’s Encyrcle come in.” Nobody saw this dose of old timey fury coming.

Dust Bolt – Awake the Riot Review

Dust Bolt – Awake the Riot Review

“You know, we just don’t review enough thrash metal anymore. It’s all that damn death metal we waste our days discussing. It makes us forget the simple joys of a speedy, jacked up dose of aural frenzy ripped right from 1986. Luckily for us all, Dust Bolt is around to remind us, and their sophomore album Awake the Riot is designed with German precision to do just what the title says. As on their Violent Demolition debut, these chaps rock a hybrid of Kreator circa Extreme Aggression and Coma of Souls and the classic Bay Area sound, especially Slayer.” Ready to drop your retro cash on some retro thrash?

Legion of the Damned – Ravenous Plague Review

Legion of the Damned – Ravenous Plague Review

“2014 is here and it’s time for the Metal Show to begin anew! And what better way to raise the curtain on the sixth year of AMG than with… retread thrash! Yes, yes, you’ve all had your fill of thrash, re-thrash, retro-thrash and frash, but as long as bands keep spitting this stuff out, we in the reviewing biz have a duty to review it… and it’s a BIG duty!” When the call of duty is heard, Steel Druhm jumps in the skull tank and reviews thrash metal from the Netherlands. Thank him for his service.

Interview with Mirai Kawashima from Sigh

Interview with Mirai Kawashima from Sigh

Enigmatic and uncomfortably cheerful, gregarious and ambitious Happy Metal Guy managed to catch up with Mirai Kawashima from the Japanese avant-garde black metal band Sigh. He bombarded him with positivity, amusing anecdotes and uncomfortable questions about steel phalli until Mr. Kawashima relented; answering the questions and talking about… flowers? This fucking blog gets weirder and weirder every day.

Degradation – Juggernaut Review

Degradation – Juggernaut Review

So here’s my first official review of 2012 and Steel Druhm must report that the retro-thrash wave has spilled over into another year. Whatever your opinion of such spillage may be, like every trend, some of that deluge is good, some is really bad, the majority floats in the middle. With their debut full length, Chicago toughs Degradation find themselves somewhere in that big middle, drifting toward the good side of the river but not quite able to reach the shore. Enough with the nautical metaphors. This is steady but mostly unexceptional thrash like they used to make in the second and the dreaded third wave (Gothic Slam, anybody?) of the original thrash explosion. Scattered across this fairly short, fly by album are traces of Slayer, Metallica, Testament and even mega-obscure Faith or Fear. It’s a Bay Area thrash revival with the odd piece of the germanic school sprinkled in for flavor (think old Deathrow). Despite the energy and enthusiasm the band brings to the material, I was never able to fully buy into Juggernaut and after repeated listens, some of the tracks just go by without registering in my thrash receptacle (located just under the spleen). I’m not sure if its thrash fatigue or what but this album just doesn’t resonate, though there are some quality moments.

Legion of the Damned – Descent Into Chaos Review

Legion of the Damned – Descent Into Chaos Review

Steel Druhm is a famously soft touch for a mean and angry thrash album. Because of this well know thrash predilection, I’ve celebrated the entire catalogue of Dutch death thrashers Legion of the Damned because these guys can really bring the pain. Over four albums, LOTD (formerly known as Occult) have consistently crafted intense, punishing thrash in the vein of old Slayer and Sodom mixed with the more modern death metal approach of bands like The Crown. They certainly aren’t reinventing the thrash metal genre in any way but they always produced quality material. Happily for thrash mavens, after a three year hiatus they manage to keep the spiked ball rolling with Descent Into Chaos and give yet another lesson in violence and aggressive thrashality.