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As we all know, there is such an overwhelming number of new thrash bands that have come to life in the past few years that it's now gotten to the point that on any given day you will see multiple thrash cds being released. This opens the floodgates for a listener to be bombarded by mediocre and terrible-sounding thrash metal, but through all of this over saturation there are bands that bring something new to the table, and that's what Aggressor does with Rape The Willing.
The album starts off with a smoker of a riff that lets you know your in for some modern thrashy goodness. The way an album starts is really key for any style of music as it has to pull the listener in and make them want to sit through the rest of it. As they say, first impressions can never be changed.
As you progress through the album, you can see that the band is heavily influenced by all the usual suspects of classic thrash, but not to the point that you could pick out a song or songs that sound(s) like [insert classic big time thrash band here]. This is nice. Originality is key in standing out in this new wave, and Aggressor has done a good job of worshiping yet still staying unique and having their own sound.
Getting down to the meat and potatoes of this album, the production is fantastic as every instrument is nice and clear. The mixing is also fantastic, the bass is nice and high in the mix, and this is always nice to see.
The guitar work is really nice. There are many, many riffs that will have you headbanging in no time. The riffs are really catchy, aggressive, and speedy; all the proper ingredients for good thrash. The songs are arranged nicely, and you can really tell the band is really cohesive on this record. The speed also doesn't really let up at all during the whole album except for on one track, which funny enough I didn't like at all. As well as the songs are written, there are times where I feel the songs should have been trimmed down in time and they should have played a few riffs less times than they did. Also at times you feel as if the songs are droning a bit, but even with these shortcomings the songs are still memorable and still a blast to listen to.
The drumming on this album is also nice. It's more than just your stock thrash metal drumming that we've all heard over and over again. There is some really nice double kick work and some nice fills peppered throughout the songs. It's not the most groundbreaking of percussion work, but it's interesting enough and definitely compliments and adds to the songs.
As mentioned earlier, the bass is nicely placed in the mix and is audible, but suffers from the most common problem in thrash metal - it just follows the guitar. This isn't really a huge deal, but I feel that bass fills compliment songs immensely and definitely would have worked in some of the songs on this album. It's audible and nicely in the mix, but it's just mundane as most bass work is in thrash.
The vocals are a mixed situation. There are times where the vocals sound great and then there are times where they just aren't working. The vocalist has mix between Pantera-esque vocals- meets-Tom Araya-style aggression with some higher melodies thrown in for good measure. The times they aren't working are not as frequent as when they ARE working. The vocalist has some nice range and it can be heard on this album. When the vocals are working, they sound really good. I definitely enjoyed them more than didn't. The vocals are memorable, for sure.
Overall, this album is a fun listen and is one that you will definitely come back to and throw on your mp3 player. It does have its downfalls, but overall it has more going right than wrong. This is above average modern thras, in a over saturated scene full of mediocrity.
I give this a solid 7/10.
See my other reviews and podcasts at: www.axisofmetal.blogspot.com and www.osiriswebzine.blogspot.com.