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Oh, goodness gracious me. Thrash much? This album shreds your head off. I don't even want to bother with an intro because this album is way too metal for that. I hear mind-crushing thrash emanating from my speakers... I must be listening to Tempo Of The Damned!
We start off with an ass-kicking riff that begins "Scar Spangled Banner." This song is pure, no-nonsense thrash. Great guitar and basswork... Tom Hunting blows the heads off his drumkit. Sousa's vocals are awesome here... anyone who's a "hatriot" is metal in my books. He sounds quite a bit like Blitz for the most part on this record, which is definitely a good thing. All I have to say about this opening track is, if you like thrash, you'll like this. Period. I love riffs. Do you? You'll love this one.
"WAR IS MY SHEPHERD!" No, the song doesn't start off like that, but it's metal enough to deserve all capitals. Bitchin' double kick chops power us through a speedy riff, then a little pause before going full-on into the thrash goodness. Sousa screams his head off, "WAAAAAAAAR!!! WAAAAR!!!!! war is my shepherd!" It sure is, billy. How metal is it? Really damn metal. Nice middle section with a brain-killing thrash solo and rampant double kick chops to boot. I feel like I'm being herded by war here, but that's what these big scary metal guys tell me to do, so I'd better damn well listen. Another killer track.
Oh baby... my favourite track is up next. "Blacklist." Cool armageddon style intro... single guitar riffing... THRASH! Brain-knocking mid-pace thrash riff leads us along. Some of the most sinister lyrics on the record (and that's saying alot for this album, trust me) metal-est chorus ever: "you better start runnin', cuz you know that I'm comin'/cocked 'n' loaded, and I never miss/I'm onto your game, and I'm layin' the blame/and I'm addin' your name to my blacklist/you shoulda thought twice, cuz you're payin with your life/you must have some sort of deathwish/I haven't any doubt, your time is runnin' out/cuz I've added your name to my blacklist!" HOW FUCKING METAL IS THAT? And that's just the lyrics. The riffs being played under them are more metal than a giant sawblade as it rips through your puny skull. And now we have solos! All I can see in my mind as I listen to them is Satan walking around with a big list, jabbing people in the eye with his pitchfork before cooking them and feeding their corpses to zombies! This is the most metal song of the year by a longshot.
BASS INTRO! "Shroud Of Urine." Interesting title for a cool song with yet another bitchin' thrash riff. More classic lyrics here from Sousa. "You're crucifucked and you're out of luck!" How they got that, I'll never know, but it's the metal-est line ever. Another fucking hardcore thrash song that makes my brain hurt.
Did I mention this album is super-thrash 2004? "Forward March" is next, with a pummeling opening riff. Thankfully they give us a slight breakup, but then it's right back into the skull-destroying riffage and some more harsh lyrics. I love the half-paced chorus section with Sousa yelling "FORWARD MARCH!" Yes, sir! "I've got some news for you, ya motherfucker..." I just made the most crushing modern thrash record ever! MARCH ON!
"Culling The Herd" is up next, and the main riff is... yes, terribly thrashy. Mid-paced, but thrash nonetheless. Great lyrics here as well, a great commentary on today's society, in a dirty thrash way. Another absolute ripper. Pretty catchy too.
The shortest song on the record is next, "Sealed With A Fist." All I'm going to say about this track, besides that it's more thrash than a giant "thrash"compactor, is that if you ever marry a chick, be sure not to give her a gun with "sixteen rounds incase she missed." FARKING METAL.
Next up is the groooooove-thrash number "Throwing Down." Great slower paced groove riff powers along some more subdued singing from Sousa. Great drum work throughout as well. Nice solos in the middle too. This song is a bit less metal than the rest, but still a great groovy number with bitchin' drums.
Up next is "Impaler." This really is "Trapped Under Ice" 2, except better. 1:48 is where the madness begins. Did we accidently slip in Ride The Lightning? Nahhh, this is the real fucking deal the way it was meant to be, with far better drumming, bass we can actually hear, and a WAYYYYYYYYY better solo. This shits alllll over Trapped Under Ice, and that's saying alot because Trapped is one of my favourite Metallica songs. Then after they finish making Metallica look like dolts, they give us another delish thrash riff to chew on before another killer solo. 1984 Metallica, eat your fucking hearts out and be IMPALED.
Finally, we have another groovy, disjointed riff, and it's the title track. After that, we have some downright killer speed-thrash. "Give in to the ministry of sin..." I certainly will! I think listening to this record must be a sin, it's that damn metal. Good thing I'm not a religious man, because I would have been going straight to hell in a handbasket after listening to the sheer metalness of this record. Good thing Satan likes metal... I'm sure he digs this one.
In conclusion, this is the most bone-crushing thrash record to be released in recent memory. Overkill still has it together, some of the German bands are still kicking ass, but Exodus has the crown after this one... they are leading the death-march of brutal thrash bands, kept in time with the TEMPO... OF... THE... DAMNED.
Thrash 'til death!
Choice cuts: Every last one of 'em... lost marks only because "Throwing Down" is a little off.