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Thrash is back! Some will say it never went away, but it did. Those people must clearly be thinking of Metal in general cos that never died but if one looks at the output of the old Thrash bands that even survived into the 90's, there was little to shout about. However in the early part of the 21st Century Patchjackets 'R' Us must have been having a clearing sale as a whole new generation of Thrashers have appeared from every nook and cranny that was once peaceful and respectable, to bring this glorious style of Metal to the forefront again. I am proud to call myself one of that generation, having gone absolutely bananas for Thrash Metal when I picked up "Reign In Blood" in 2002, and have never looked back since. Gama Bomb from Ireland tick every single box required on "Citizen Brain" to pass the mandatory 'Are you a real Thrasher?' test, which whilst certainly admirable could be their biggest downfall - more of which to come later.
Gama Bomb deal in pure thrashing 80's Thrash of the thrashiest Exodus and Anthrax nature, with gang vocals galore, tongue-in-cheek lyrics, riffs never slowing beyond a fast gallop and competent drumming holding the whole thing together. In their favour, at least the bass is audible unlike too much of the 80's Thrash catalogue. Picking stand-out tracks is difficult due to the rough similarity of the lot, where chorus follows verse, solos flay, vocalist Philly fights with the other members for dominance of the vocals, heads bang and feet tap. Exodus, already a huge influence to so many modern Thrash bands, are clearly a favourite of the GB boys, with a drumsound hugely reminiscent of their later material and riffs galore that remind this scribe of their classic "And Then There Were None" from 1986's "Bonded By Blood". Particular favourites include "Evil Voices" and "Hammer Slammer" where GB's OTT youthful exuberance spills over to create some blinding riffs that are guaranteed to get everyone involved in some good friendly violent fun down in the pit.
Despite the abundance of invariably flowing solos and Philly's propensity for screaming like only a drunken Irish Thrasher could, at this early stage in their career "Citizen Brain" just doesn't quite separate Gama Bomb from the pack that Municipal Waste's "Hazardous Mutation" did for them in 2005. The excellent production is of course the main separator between GB and theirs and mine 80's heroes but a greater variety in song tempo and structure would serve them no harm on future releases in the crowded field of Thrash circa 2008. It appears that in ticking every box required of them GB have in the process restricted themselves to minimising distinguishing features, a cure for which will no doubt be found out through growing maturity. Refinement is certainly required but there is time for Gama Bomb and with a record that is guaranteed to be a storm in the live arena their future is promising.
Originally written for Rockfreaks.net