2019 Roundup: Thrash Metal
I haven’t kept up with my journalistic duties as of late, and to be frank, I don’t intend to entirely rectify this matter shortly. Yet, I’ve no desire to completely neglect them either, so I’ve compiled a smattering of thrash metal releases in a bump ‘n grind styled, quick mass of short reviews for you to enjoy at your leisure. Today we’re taking look at the latest from Vulture, Sadistic Ritual, Excuse, Oozing Wound & Enforced.
No doubt you’ll remember the Norwegian death/thrash/blacking Inculter, whom Lacertilian spoke kindly of back in April:
“They either adhere strictly to the well trodden tenets of the genre and produce something largely unremarkable to anyone but the trvest diehard denim doppelgängers, or they experiment and mix in enough external influence that the common consensus deems them too anomalous to be considered as conforming to the tag. Whether or not Inculter have deliberately tried to deal with this dichotomy is broadly irrelevant though, what matters to you most is that they have managed to do so in an outstanding manner on their sophomore speedfest Fatal Visions. It will only take one playthrough of this record for you to hear why the album stands head, shoulders, and horns above the majority of the modern scene.”
You probably haven’t had a chance to forget Ripper’s step towards a more technically-inclined territory since our September premiere of the Sensory Stagnation ep either. If you have, that’s what you should be listening to now because:
“The first thing you’ll probably notice is Ripper’s slight shift forward from schizophrenic Sepultura thrash towards an atypical mixture merging Sadus-style shred and a more deliberate early 90’s Death metal sound. While the overt South American insanity still prevails, the 5 tracks are imbued with some more controlled direction and attention to technicality (à la Atheist). The bass presence is even stronger than previous efforts, with the serpentine fretplay evoking the quasi-lead work of a master such as Steve Di Giorgio himself. The resultant effect is immense. Ripper’s sinister sci-fi themes are perfectly suited to the increased compositional focus; like several photon beams being lensed towards a single point, their sound is now perhaps more devastating than ever.”
If you’ve kept an ever-vigilant eye on this here little Toilet-themed blog, you might remember Spear’s letters of recommendation for Critical Defiance and the oddly named Algebra, my own feelings regarding the long standing names of Overkill and Destruction, Joe’s premiere of Wraith, and the brief podcast spotlight for Judiciary. But there’s still a good bunch of thrash metal that’s worth your attention out there, and we’re going to take a look at some of it before another year escapes our hands.
Despite having been around for a decade or so, Prophets from the Occultic Cosmos is Excuse‘s debut record, but I’m sure they have a good one. Already on their previous material they’ve shown growth from an aspiring band driven by youthful vigor (at the time of it’s founding, Excuse’s members were mostly 14), towards a group with a much larger scope, narrative skill and ambition. Lengthier tracks have always been a part of the band’s repertoire; the Goddess Injustice ep released a few years back also hinted at the band’s capability of weaving dark, melodic motifs into their music without sacrificing any of the aggression or sharp riffing in the process. Prophets from the Occultic Cosmos pushes the limits and constraints of the band’s expression by further exploring and developing these tendencies. PftOC is a thoroughly engaging work and a great record from a band who will no doubt continue to surpass themselves.
This one was featured on The Other Podcast back in May, but I am so behind on the other podcast that I barely ever try my hand at The Other Podcast and when I do, it’s usually months behind their publishing schedule. So, in the extremely unlikely event that not only do our readers rank among themselves an individual or two that missed this particular episode of The Other Podcast, but also such individuals that have until this moment failed to follow
Unspeakable Axe Unescapable Thrash Records and somehow are still interested in thrash metal, there would be a sore need for Visionaire of Death to be featured on these pages. It’s really violent, it’s very energetic, it’s extremely riff-heavy and I can’t really imagine anyone into thrash wanting this album to be anything else than it is.
The German Vulture‘s style is more in line with the old school speed metal groups like Ranger or the Swedish Antichrist or Canadian legends Exciter than any of the aforementioned ones. So we’re talking a reverb-drenched, melody-inflicted, vocally howled, high speed record with riffs for days from a band that sounds like they spend as much time thinking if something will fit their sound as they do if it sounds good. They probably don’t, but they sound like they do. I quote myself (because apparently I covered this in TTT and forgot all about it) “If you like your speed metal rowdy but clean, with a clear but punchy production, closer to thrash than trad metal but with a melodic punch and topped with piano intros and mid-tempo tracks, Vulture’s sophomore is easily your best bet this week.”
Crossover thrash heavily in the vein of Power Trip (though some of that might be thanks to another Arthur Rizk mix) that’s by no means without an identity of their own in the making, with guest vocals (and cover artwork) by Integrity’s Dwid Hellion. Need more be said? Fine. It may be up for debate, and certainly is up to your personal taste whether Wagstaff & Monaghan Ltd. “Riff-quarrying extraordinaires” riff harder than your favourite band, but it’s a fact that they (maybe) riff more (entirely dependent on your favourite band). At The Walls is extremely solid front-to-back and you’d do yourself no favour in missing this.
Directly quoting a promo is not something I’m going to forgive myself for anytime soon, but “High Anxiety finds Oozing Wound’s songs have become more complex, their attacks more ferocious, and bass and guitar lines more captivating.” And that’s the best I’ve got, honestly. It’s the same fun, fuzzy, sludgy and thrashy riff-noise, with a humorous glint that Oozing Wound has always trundled out but with some tweaks help keep things interesting and make High Anxiety, by-and-large, some of the best material they’ve put out to date.
Each band has their Bandcamp page linked above for your convenience, where available. And even if there isn’t one, each band has their Facebook page linked so you can go tell them why this is your favourite blog, and also a place to get the record from.