Crossing the Thrashold: Post Election Mexican Standoff
Well I’ll be goddamned, Toileteers. I’m gone from writing for the Toilet for a couple of months and y’all manage to elect this guy to be your president? Hardee fucking har.
Well if shit goes down, I have all of the firearms and ammunition you need. I also got a generous dose of that good ole thrash as a soundtrack too. You wieners didn’t believe me when I said there was plenty of good thrash around these days. Now you’re all about to eat some weapons-grade crow cause that shit is coming back in style. And no, I don’t mean fucking Metallica. You have no idea how many people have come to me saying “Metallica just put all other thrash to shame this year.” Fuck that noise. The new album is not terrible, but such a statement should still get ones head separated from their body. Metallica should not be the gold standard for thrash in fucking 2016. Hell, even the new Testament is better (and actually thrash), but I digress.
For our first pick we head back to that bastion of raw thrash, Texas. Seriously, what is it about the Lone Star State that churns out these awesome thrash bands at such a high rate? Maybe our commander in Chief Joe Thrashnkill can tell us one day hmm? I’ll likely have to bribe him with a meal from Whataburger and the whole King of Hill DVD collection.
Aggravator hail from San Antonio and bring it hard with some of the most vicious and accurate societal hatred set to Terrible Certainty influenced riffing I’ve heard in a while. They got a demo, an EP and two full-lengths down, this year’s Sterile Existence being the second. The whole band just comes at you with no mercy. Guitarist Derek Jones commands the mic sounding like a fevered hound chewing on some goddamn sandpaper. And when those grooves snake out from within the 800mph stomping, like on “High Impact Homicides”, you will tear out plaster from walls. Angery as fuck. Unfortunately, “Sterile” is not on Bandcamp, but their previous album Populace Destructor is. Meanwhile take this as an appetizer and then go here to grab those physical copies.
Next we move north to that most colorless of urban wastelands, Chicago. Or rather to an area nearby, Plano. From this not so quaint town comes quartet Living Terror. They’ve been active since 2014, releasing one demo. And their hard work now comes to fruition with the release of their debut EP Total Warfare. I am normally not a fan of this type of chunky mid-paced thrash. But the more speed metal-esque pacing of these seven tracks, combined with the slight blackened edge of the riffs and the intimidating snarl of front-man Phil Kurasz wrapped up in a clean and very sharp production just does it for me. “Lord of the Reaper” in particular serves as an excellent call to war. Very fitting for these times then, hmm? I look forward to more stuff from these guys.
For band number three we go east good ol NYC to get in touch with a crew of hometown heroes. Night Rite come forth from the inner realms of the Five Boroughs to give you a thoroughly nihilistic and quite atmospheric take on black/thrash. Their debut full-length Chaosophy came out last year, but I am still shoving its seven tunes into my ears even now. Songs like “Dragon of Western Throne” and “Rise of the Black Sun” are a hell of a combination of cold epic riffing with eerie passages and occasional punk stomping. The dissonant vocals are something else too, not veering into cheesy territory like way too many bands of the ilk tend to do. I almost wish this record had come out this year so the fellating of it would be more timely, but thems the breaks, citizens. They also kill it live too, staying tight and focused as a onstage machine despite their occasional lineup changes. They are at a stable four-piece for now and have gone back into the urban catacombs from whence they came to write some more music. Can’t wait really. In the meantime, grab Chaosophy here (Hint: It’s NYP so you have no excuse, though you should throw them a couple of dollars anyway).
Saving the best for last here, citizens. Cross the Atlantic to the hallowed shores of France, to the city of Tarbes, and witness the self proclaimed “heavy/speed metal attack” of three piece Iron Slaught. These dudes seemingly came out of nowhere, though they have been active since 2011. They have a single full-length, no EPs demos or anything else. And that full-length, Crusading Metal Mercenaries, came out last year. I give a fuck about none of these things because this album is completely awesome and punishing in all of the right ways. Have you ever thought of what a hybrid of the speed of classic Agent Steel and windswept feel of Wotan would sound like? No? Well get out of my face, fucking wiener.
In all seriousness, this band comes with six songs drenched in epic fist pumping riffs that will make your hair fall off from too much banging. All the while front-man Iron Jeremy (ha) alternates between a ferocious snarl and a surprisingly deep, heavily accented croon as he regurgitates tales of medieval madness and occult shenanigans. The opening track “Battle Ready” should be more than enough to compel you to don your armor (or your kutte, whichever suits you.) and charge into glorious war against the false. The other 3/4ths of the record is speed metal goodness that keeps the epic spirit while trampling everything in their path. Like Night Rite, I wish this album had come out this year so I can heap more praise upon it. Still, smash that BC link button and buy.