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Metal is stuck in a rut, especially thrash. With this new generation of MTV 2 bastardized metalcore/metal crap, everything is beginning to go to Hell. The originality that was showcased back in the day has now been replaced by record labels snatching up anything that'll sell, regardless of talent. Much of the older metal bands have packed it in, and while some have tried to put out new albums, they’ve been in vain. There are a few bands, however, who have managed to stick around, such as Slayer, Megadeth, Onslaught, and Iron Maiden, but how long can these saviors continue on? Sooner or later, they’ll have to bow out, and who will take their place?
Well, one band comes to mind, and that’s Deathchain.
With an opening scream of “Nemesis is back!” from vocalist “Rotten” (as he prefers to be called), the boys unleash a salvo of vicious guitars, pulverizing drum patters, a complete shred-solo, and throaty-growls, and it never lets up. Nearly every song is just as hard-hitting as the last, leaving the listener with bloodied ears. Tracks like “Graveyard Witchery” and “Napalm Satan” are some of the most innovative songs the genre has ever possessed, and “Return of the Nemesis” and “Lepra Lord” are just text-book examples of how to write pulverizing riffs. For those looking for a bit more melody, one only has to listen to the barbaric “Panzer Holocaust”.
One element that death/thrash has always lacked is some sort of hook, as most bands try and get away with making the heaviest music that they possibly can; not so much with Deathchain. Yes, this sh*t is heavy as balls, but it sounds like they actually put a lot of thought into this album, as hooks fly out and grab you left and right. “Napalm Satan” and especially the freakishly awesome vocal intro to “Graveyard Witchery” will be stuck in your head for days to come, while chants from songs like “Deathrash Legions” and “Venom Preacher” will have you thrashing all night long. Most of these “hooks”, however, come from “Rotten”, as he utilizes great diversity in his vocal work. Whether it be death grunts, high-wailed screams, or chants, the guy does it all. Just hearing him growl out lines like “Hear me as I say there will be hell to pay, People shall die under the god-forsaken sky!” is enough to get some heads rolling.
I should note out right now that there actually is some humor in this album if you’re a huge thrash fan, as the song “Deathrash Legions” comes across as a tribute to thrashers everywhere. The song features “ten thrash commandments”, which are actually just album/song names from thrash bands like Slayer and Anthrax; quite cool, to be honest.
The other surprising factor about this album is that the guitar work is about twice as technical as you’d expect. The riffs, aside from “Lepra Lord”, are hardly straightforward. Most, like “Panzer Holocaust” and “Valley of the Corpses” contain wonderful fills and branch-offs courtesy of Corpse and Bobby. Their solos, however, aren’t really anything eye-popping, but they can wank with the best of them, as evident on “Venom Preacher” and “Graveyard Witchery”. The drumming from Kassara almost reminds me of Dave Lombardo, as he is all over his kit 24/7 and never let’s up, not once. Whether it be death-metal beats or pounding fills, Kassara unloads on his kit.
The death/thrash genre isn’t very well received due to the nature of being overly repetitive, and this album is no exception, but not in the way most would think. “Deathrash Assault” is only repetitive due to the same sound level throughout. The riffs are all different, as they don’t sound borrowed from the previous songs, and the way the riffs are put together is unique for each song, but in the end, the production/sound level implies that it’s just one big song. The basswork, as well, doesn’t really help this factor, since Kuolio’s bass is tuned in such a way that it sounds like he is playing one note the whole time to just add a “thump” to the music.
“Deathrash Assault”, to say the least, is very impressive. It packs a huge punch, and it never slows down. It takes the death/thrash genre, picks it up off the ground, and breathes new life into an otherwise stale and stuck genre. If you like your music heavy and raw, get this now.
Overall – 4.5/5 (90%)
Return of the Nemesis