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Thrash metal is far from dead. Well, that is according to Swedish metal outfit Assailant, who have just released their 2nd CD, entitled ‘Wicked dream’. Assailant has given the old thrash metal sound a modern facelift and with heavy metal and keyboards in the mix, have produced a sound that will not only satisfy the old-school thrash-heads, but also the modern metal lovers with aggressive undertones.
Assailant was formed in 2004, after numerous line-up changes and band names such as Ecliptica and Sacra Via. The 2 original members of Sacra Via who still remain in the band today, are bassist Joakim Jonsson and lead guitarist Oskar Norberg. Oskar is the younger brother of Nils Norberg (guitarist for Nocturnal Rites) and Emil Norberg (guitarist for Persuader/Savage Circus). The other members of the band include vocalist Peder Sundqvist, keyboardist Peder Sandström, guitarist Marcus Sundbom and drummer Patrik Larsson.
Assailant released a demo CD in 2005, which was sent to many music labels in a hope to be signed up by a big metal label. Their prayers were answered when Dockyard 1 liked what they heard and brought them onboard. I would say there would have been a slight influence from Emil Norberg in the decision, with both Persuader and Savage Circus being on the same label. Assailant’s debut CD soon followed in 2006, entitled ‘Nemesis within’.
Assailant’s sound is quite hard to be put into just one metal category, as they infused a few different styles into their music. But according to lead guitarist Oskar Norberg, Assailant’s style is “A blend of modern, melodic thrash and old-school heavy metal with lots of interesting harmonies.” That statement pretty much nails it on the head, but what about the vocals you ask? Well, with modern melodic thrash and old school heavy metal, you also get screaming, raw aggressive vocals. With vocals that remind me of bands from such genres as Extreme metal, thrash metal, deathcore and nu-metal, it did take me a while to digest the fierce screaming vocals. Think of a cross between Persuader and Into Eternity, but more of a raw sound and not as polished. Peder Sundqvist is quite a talented singer and has plenty of range and raw energy within his vocals that really pick the songs up in intensity.
Assailant play at a fast-paced speed, as you would expect from a band that has old-school thrash and heavy metal influences. The aggressive riffs are constant and greatly enjoyable; Oskar Norberg and Marcus Sundbom are certainly exceptional axemen. The addition of the synths into a modern thrash sound gives it a nice melodic edge, as they are worked in well with the rest of the music.
Some song highlights from ‘Wicked dream’ include the title track “Wicked dream”, “Fade away”, “Catch 22” and the CD closer “Instincts”. A special mention also goes out to “Eternal”, which is an acoustic version of the original song found on their debut release. This is where we really hear the true extent of Peder Sundqvist’s vocal abilities. The song is a ballad, obviously, and is pretty good too.
Overall, I must say that Assailant have a very nice CD here and they seem to be moving in the right direction. They seem to be where they should be in terms of the 2nd CD, i.e. finding their own sound, and being comfortable in it and finding their own niche, etc.
For those who are fond of the aggressive modern metal sound with thrash metal influences and also fans of bands such as Persuader and Into Eternity, you will find Assailant to be right up your alley and should make the effort to track down this CD.