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I had a conversation with a friend not too long ago regarding the thrash revivalist craze of late, noting that he was quite dismissive of it. For him it was a matter of been there, done that, having lived through the first go around from 1985 through 1991, and there is perhaps something to that. Most of the bands in question are not merely revisiting the style of said time period, but also attempting the same atmosphere, production practices, guitar sound, almost as if trying to turn the clock back about 25 years. But for someone of my age, someone who lived through that time period but was a bit too young to full appreciate it (I remember the video for Metallica’s “One” scaring the crap out of me at age 8), it’s a different situation, and by extension a much more welcome one.
To be fair, most of the newer bands that are picking up the old school thrash sound are not fully plagiarizing any particular band, but rather a style that shifting fairly considerably depending on which band is in question. Sweden’s recent addition to this scene Antichrist (taking a fairly cliché name, to be sure) is one of the more obvious examples of a band doing a little experimentation within an already established paradigm. The heaviest influence appears to be coming from early 80s Slayer and the mid 80s offerings of the Teutonic Trio, though a strong amount of melodic hooks that were more common to the mainline New York and Bay Area bands. It’s sort of an interesting mix that is observable in other bands such as Fueled By Fire, but here the nastiness of the vocals and the rapidity of the riff work reminds just as much of Kreator as it does Dark Angel.
“Forbidden World” is an enticing package, particularly for someone who wants a middle of the road experience of the more extreme fringes of thrash, one that isn’t pointing quite as obviously to the death metal sound that Slayer and Kreator were by 1986. “Dark Sorcery” and “Torment In Hell” are excellent examples of that fast and frenzied darkness heard on “Hell Awaits”, but also comes equipped with a series of lead breaks that are much more disciplined than the frenetic character of most mid 80s extreme shredders, putting out a bit more of an Exodus or Megadeth vibe. “Necropolis” showcases this band’s versatility, reminding that this style have to perpetually cook at 200 clicks and can infuse some grooving mid-tempo punishment and creepy lead guitar passages to paint a dark yet less chaotic picture. And the longwinded instrumental “Minotaur” all but channels Iron Maiden’s galloping, lead melodies galore approach into a nastier, yet auspiciously faithful rendition.
Perhaps many of the older crowd have the right to dismiss this music as being passé and something that some kids rediscovered and don’t fully understand. But since I have no desire to sound like an old fogy who lectures about how it was done once and shouldn’t be done again, or to be one of these avant-garde types who only go for things that push the envelope to the point that it barely even sounds like metal anymore, I’ll be happy with plenty more of this. This is the kind of metal that can be both scary and entertaining at the same time, blowing your speakers while inspiring that unique one-man mosh pit euphoria that only a real thrashing can bring. This has been done before, and it’s even been done better by a few of the original mainstays, but it ought to be done a lot more and with this level of intensity and intrigue.