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Thrash metal has seen a steady resurgence of interest during recent years. New bands are emerging with intimidating sounds and techniques and are managing to garner an equally intimidating force of devoted fans of the “new wave”. However, Anger As Art, with their new release "Hubris Inc." off Old School Metal Records, proves that experience above all else, is golden. Anger As Art boasts a lineup of veterans with decades of experience in thrash and speed metal. However, with their new release, the band took it one step further and ended up inviting numerous renowned guests to feature in the album. One of these guests is Dark Angel's Jim Durkin, performing lead guitar. Upon discovery of this piece of information, I went comatose for several minutes, and my medication was the music of "Hubris Inc." The band’s years of experience is put to good use on the album, with each member’s technicality and mastery shining through each track, putting aspiring musicians such as myself to misery and shame under the weight of their sheer awesomeness.
The title and opening track of the album begins reminiscent of old school Iron Maiden. Now, this is where the band’s technical flair starts to take up real shape. Yes, during the first track. I was gifted with a bout of some of the best lead guitar work I had heard in a long time. It was marvelous, stunning even, and it did not stop. “Time Devours Life”, the next track, wastes no time in steering the album onto full-on thrash rocking. The insane blast-beating and double-bass drums of madness are evident here. Hell, it is evident throughout the entire album. Vocalist Steve Gaines definitely does not let age hold him back. The vocals have a very edgy, coarse tone, perfect for the kind of music Anger As Art plays. Gaines’ voice reminds me of that of Overkill's Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, except with a more guttural edge. The vocals shine on “Gods of Hate”, despite the main melody of the song wearing out fast. In fact, the band’s focus of demonstrating their technical godliness has left a certain trail of uncertainty with the songs. The melodies do not seem well-thought out and the album does not appear well-coordinated, and there is also an issue of repetition.
However, the band recovers from this by presenting listeners with “Speed Kills”, a cheekily named track in which the band decided to remind people that anyone attempting to play as quick as they do, will die. That kind of speed would certainly kill me. “As The Exalted Seethe” proved to be the standout track with more creative writing and a more different sound. The band’s lethal technical precision takes on a whole new level here with the musicality and style present in this track. For the last track of the album “Never Forgive, Never Forget”, the band cuts it simpler technique-wise, focusing instead on all out thrash fun. It was nice, refreshing even, to hear this.
When the band reverted back to basics with the two aforementioned tracks, I sighed in contentment. That was good. That was nice. An hour of murderous noise is not. I am not saying "Hubris Inc." was that – this is simply a premonition that without the efforts of the very talented and experienced band members, "Hubris Inc." might just have been that. "Hurbis Inc." is a heavily loaded album with years of experience laying its foundation and guest stars to hoist all fourteen tracks up onto a pedestal of epicenes. But that may just be the issue - fourteen tracks. To be more specific, fourteen tracks of 230 BPM thrash/speed songs absolutely conquered by the maestros playing them. It can be a little too much, and Anger As Art has certainly proven to be beyond the boundaries of human capability with this new album. However, musicality may have been compromised in the heat of the band’s technical focus.
"Hubris Inc." came off as a little ungainly with issues of repetition and little musicality. However, that can be overlooked and hidden behind the stunning virtuosity of the band. They are simply that bloody good.
Originally written for http://www.metal-temple.com