Thrash Metal

Siniestro – Vortexx Review

Siniestro – Vortexx Review

“Thrash was my first true introduction to all things metal. Like many of the morally derelict denizens who write for this site or haunt the comment section, I dipped my toe in the swamp with Sabbath, but it wasn’t until I took a deep dive into the likes of Testament, Kreator, Slayer and Anthrax that I knew I was more than willing to drown in this sea of riffs n’ roars. Though now I now prefer my metal far more fetid, thrash still holds a special place in my heart. This led me to pluck the latest from blackened thrash outfit Siniestro from the oft-mentioned but rarely-survived primordial promo sump.” Cloudy with a chance of thrash attack.

Artillery – X Review

Artillery – X Review

“Denmark’s Artillery weren’t the first thrash band to cross my stereo in the 80s, as they were beaten to the punch by most of the “Big Four” and two-thirds of the big names in Germanic thrash. Still, their Fear of Tomorrow debut hit like a thunderbolt from Thor himself when it arrived in 1985. It was heavy and fast, but also had major hooks and choruses that drilled deep into your skull. The band had a very good run with follow ups Terror Squad and By Inheritance and then inexplicably called it a day in 1990. They resurfaced briefly in 1999, then promptly returned to limbo until 2009. Since then they’ve managed to be productive, releasing an album every two or three years, maintaining enough of their classic sound to keep folks like me interested. Sadly, guitarist Morten Stützer, who along with his brother Michael founded the band and created its distinctive riffing style, passed away in 2019 at the young age of 57. Artillery soldiered on in the aftermath, recruiting a new guitarist and returning with their tenth full-length, X.” The cannons will not be silenced.

Bunker 66 – Beyond the Help of Prayers Review

Bunker 66 – Beyond the Help of Prayers Review

“There’s something so alluring about the melding of two genres like black and speed metal. When executed correctly, these seemingly disparate styles join forces to create a noxious stew altogether stronger than the sum of their individual parts; powerful, bombastic and able to dissolve your stomach lining. Bands like Blackevil, Bewitcher, Hellripper and a cornucopia of their spike-and-denim clad contemporaries prove what transpires when icy BM and the meat-and-potatoes chug of 80s speed form their unholy union. Bunker 66 are no strangers to this format, and are eager to continue the sacrilegious scourge with their new album Beyond the Help of Prayers.” Bunker busters.

Insane – Victims Review

Insane – Victims Review

“My door is always open for 80s-inspired speed metal. You see, all you younger folks merely adopted the speed. I was there when it first broke through the ground and started hunting for scalps. I was raised by it, molded by it. I owe it a debt. And so I grabbed the promo for Insane‘s sophomore outing based on a sample I heard that sounded like the ugly stepbrother to classic Canadian speedsters Razor. I expected knuckle-dragging, saliva spraying acts of rapid-fire depravity on Victims. In this I was not disappointed, though the method of delivery had some surprises in store for me.” Wictims ov changes.

Lucifuge – Infernal Power Review

Lucifuge – Infernal Power Review

“When I reviewed Lucifuge‘s last effort, The One Great Curse, it was a different age. OK, it was February 2020 but it feels like it was a different age. I remember sitting in riverside bar – indoors, no less – sipping a craft beer, while tapping out my thoughts on what was the third full-length in as many years from this Germany-based four piece. Well, one year (and a global pandemic) on, and Lucifuge is back with fourth offering, Infernal Power.” All the power, 100% less Danzig.

Mister Misery – A Brighter Side of Death Review

Mister Misery – A Brighter Side of Death Review

“‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’ so the saying goes. But in our modern metal landscape, where a single look at an album cover or a song name can hook us or repel us forever, it’s damn hard to do otherwise. Mister Misery (strike one) are dying for your attention, as illustrated by that album cover (strike two). Their so-called brand of “horror metal” should be strike three, good morning, good afternoon, good night. And yet… maybe read the first page.” Twisted Mister.

Obsolete – Animate//Isolate Review

Obsolete – Animate//Isolate Review

“I’ve spent much of this year listening to Obituary and Mortician. Both are death metal, but death metal is a wide field and you can’t mistake either band’s sound for the other’s. To address this, we put bands into subgenres within a subgenre – Floridian death metal, for instance. This is nice because I don’t want to sift through a bunch of Entombed clones to find something like Monstrosity. What about when our subgenres within subgenres cease to be useful to describe a sound? Then we get stuff like slam, which is brutal death metal played a specific way –  a subgenre of a subgenre within a subgenre. If you’re thinking that Obsolete‘s debut Animate//Isolate will lead me down a sub-sub-sub-genre rabbit hole, go ahead and give yourself an executive producer credit.” Old tech.

Monarch – Future Shock Review

Monarch – Future Shock Review

“Another week, another contest contestant, this time in the form of San Diego thrashers Monarch, winners of the 2019 Wacken Metal Battle USA. That’s better than a Participant ribbon! Led by guitarists Casey Trask and Matt Smith (who also serves as vocalist), Monarch’s style harkens back to the early days of thrash, with plenty of punky attitude and silly subject matter yet loads of technical skill. After 2017’s debut Go Forth…Slaughter, the band played a ton of gigs, honed their songwriting skills, and went into the studio (rather than the debut’s DIY approach) to craft Future Shock, an album they hope is a big step forward.” Born to rule?

Bushido Code – The Ronin Review

Bushido Code – The Ronin Review

“I’m a sucker for odd combos. Purple and yellow for an action movie poster instead of the boring and overused red-blue scheme? Sign me the fuck up. A crossover that’s actually also a convertible? I think that’s fucking stupid but sign me the fuck up anyway. So when I saw that Pennsylvania/North Carolina quintet Bushido Code‘s debut The Ronin came with the thrash metal tag, artwork that looks like a cross between Overwatch concept art and West Coast style graffiti, and stitched together with Japanese samurai themes which may or may not extend somewhat beyond pure aesthetics, I felt compelled to cover it.” Lone Wolf and club.

Steel Bearing Hand – Slay in Hell Review

Steel Bearing Hand – Slay in Hell Review

“It was the band’s logo that did it. Skulking around the promo bin like a slightly more disheveled Grima Wormtongue, I noticed this monstrosity right away. Take a closer look and you’ll see everything that makes metal metal: “Steel” written out with trve 80s flair (the ‘S’ is actually a steel bearing hand, guys!) nestled atop a more grotesque “Bearing Hand”, contorted, razor-sharp and deadly, book-ended by the ubiquitous devil horns. It’s the perfect statement for a self-proclaimed death/thrash group eager to meld genres and melt faces. Coupled with intricate, black-and-white cover art that calls to mind the barbaric and fiercely fun LIK, I was eager to see what this Texas foursome with only one other full-length under their bullet-studded belt was all about.” Steel hands and slay rides.