Crossing the Thrashold: Sacral Rage and Indestroy
Sacral Rage is a band I found completely by accident whilst browsing through Cruz del Sur’s bandcamp. As I picked through their catalogue, I spied an album that looked equal parts goofy and badass. In any case, the album looked thrashy, which is always enough for me to proceed with further investigation. I nonchalantly pressed play on the album opener “Harbinger”, an instrumental mood piece that softly buttered my ears while I busily did nothing in particular. And then, “En Cima Del Mal” hit my ears. After only hearing a minute of this song, I knew that whatever I was doing would have to wait: I had a new band to find out every single detail about.
Sacral Rage hail from Athens, Greece, and consist of Spyros S. on bass, Vagelis F. on drums (who happens to be in a fuckton of bands that I’m sure some people here would appreciate), Marios P. on guitar, and the living war siren, Dimitris K., on vocals. They have recorded a handful of demos, as well as an EP in 2013 called Deadly Bits of Iron Fragments that has more of a general speed metal/heavy metal feel to it, but still enough kick to engage the ever-thirsty thrash fan.
Illusions in Infinite Void is their first release as a signed act, and I’ve got to say, Cruz del Sur are probably happier than a plum that they snagged this act before anyone else did. With this release, I truly believe Sacral Rage have made the best thrash metal album of 2015 (though there is a “genre” argument you could make, if you want to be a pedant). Don’t trust my opinion? Ask Fenriz.
As I mentioned, “En Cima Del Mal” is a phenomenal opening track that makes quick work of completely engaging the listener. Thankfully, they don’t give up all the goodies right away, as evidenced by other golden pit-instigators such as “Panic in Urals (Burning Skies)” and “Inner Sanctum Asylum”. That being said, when you hit tracks like, “Lost Chapter E: Sutratma”, or, “Into Mental East”, you may be surprised to hear such a young band so wisely pull back on their own musical reins, which gives each song a lot more room to breathe. This musical discipline makes for an incredibly impactful and memorable listen throughout the entirety of the album.
I could write pages and pages about why I think this band is amazing, but I don’t think more colorful words or haphazardly slapped together sentences are going to make you want to check them out any more. So, in an effort to be as inoffensive to their reputation as I can, I will say that Sacral Rage have proven with Illusions in Infinite Void that they are a band that is more than worthy of your attention and money. Buy this album and other Sacral Rage merch on Cruz Del Sur’s Bandcamp page. FFO: Watchtower, Agent Steel, Vektor
Since these Crossing the Thrashold articles are (unfortunately) few and far between, and since we all know thrash’s heyday was decades ago, I thought I’d throw in an old, infrequently mentioned thrash band into this post. The band in question is Rockville, Maryland’s very own, Indestroy.
While they only ever released one LP and an EP, I think Indestroy created something notable enough to be seen by more than just a few thrift store raiders every now and again. Indestroy’s self-titled LP was released in 1987, the same year that saw the release of Testament’s “The Legacy”, Destruction’s “Release From Agony”, Voivod’s “Killing Technology”, and a whole mess of other insanely good thrash albums. With the pressure on, Indestroy proved they had enough creative finesse to stick out from the pack, but couldn’t find enough grounding in their sound to solidly break them into an already overcrowded thrash scene.
This fact standing, Indestroy proves to be a very good album that characterizes itself on what I sometimes call an “unintentionally progressive” sound (examples: Mercyful Fate, GWAR, Macabre). The riffs usually tend to be fairly unorthodox in some manner, and tempos change consistently. The speedy songs, such as “U.S.S.A.” and “Dead Girls (Don’t Say No)”, are great tracks that will easily convince your head to bang and your mouth to sing-along (no matter how regrettable it might be to do so). And the damn near surgical precision with which they play these lightning fast rippers can only be equaled by that of bands such as Rigor Mortis or Powermad. And while Indestroy clearly shine their best when they’re shredding, the mid-paced tracks on this album deliver the goods just as well, especially when talking about songs like “Fatal Sin” and “Groundzero”.
Unfortunately, when these variations in speed are made, they usually seem over-pronounced, which is due in no small part to each fast song and slow song being clumsily juxtaposed right next to each other. The end results in this album sort of feeling like a tug of war between two different bands. The only other significant problem I see with this album is that the last two songs on it sound fairly uninspired. The tracks easily could have been tossed and the album would be much better off for it. While these album flaws may have hurt Indestroy’s chances of making an immediate impact on the thrash scene, they proved to be invaluable lessons when it came time for Indestroy to release another album.
1989 marked the release of Indestroy’s last recorded work, an EP entitled Senseless Theories, which stepped up their game considerably from their former album. Present throughout was a more concentrated and seamless direction that washed away the green of their past. Gone are any throwaway tracks or slow songs, leaving us with an album that’s generally fast, and without filler. While they still utilize all of the signature unorthodoxy that helped them stick out from the pack in the first place, this EP sees Indestroy playing around with song structure and “long riffs” (ex. “Killing is my Business” or “Night of the Unborn”) that can be heard in songs such as “Living Filth” and “Instant Insanity”. Also, crucial to this new and improved formula is the addition of drummer Rob Brannigan, who clearly knew how to handle this unconventional material in more of a pertinent way than Gus Basilika. To get to the (Gurp™) bottomline here: “Tortured by Fire”, “Senseless Theories”, and “Instant Insanity” are songs that any thrash fan worth their salt needs to check out.
FFO: Metal Church, Exodus, Carnivore, any metal band that’s ever appeared in an 80’s horror movie