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My first real taste of Gama Bomb came with their contribution of â€œZombi Brewâ€ on the Thrashing Like a Maniac compilation reviewed earlier this year. Man, if that one single track was any indication of what was to come with their sophomore release, then I was going to be in for one hell of a ride on the thrash coaster. Thankfully, Gama Bomb live up to all expectations with 15 tracks of new school thrash with a decidedly old school feel. Just about every song on the disc is catchy, memorable and thrashingly fun.
Thereâ€™s something to say about a band that has every member running full-bore at their utmost best. Shredders Luke Graham and Domo Dixon let loose with riff after devastating riff doing their best to bring the Bay Area to the bandâ€™s home land of Ireland. Bassist Joe McGuigan and drummer Paul Caffrey lay waste to the moshing crowds in front of them with earth rattling rhythms and creative blasts. Lead vocalist Philly Byrne utilizes a quick cadence with his clean, but slightly gruff delivery that is catchy and easy to shout along with. He even releases a few unholy screams to help punctuate a particular moment throughout the disc.
Zombie Blood Nightmare
Driving riffs and creative drum work opens up the album with â€œZombie Blood Nightmare.â€ The pace is quickened rapidly as the band tears through the track in a swirling, high tempo maelstrom. The chorus is catchy and will have you shouting along with the band. The lead a the 1:49 point starts off rather darkly, but quickly descending into fret board madness.
Chugging riffs keep the momentum moving along briskly. This one has a bit more of an aggressive edge to it, but still clean and fun as hell to listen to. A big scream from Byrne at the 1:18 point leads into a pretty sick solo that slithers in and out of chugging riffs and pile driving drum work. Another catchy chorus will have you shouting along with the band in no time.
â€œFinal Fightâ€ has some seriously killer leads in it, but itâ€™s the one that finishes out the track thatâ€™s got a nice little surprise â€” the injection of the Tetris theme. I had to replay the track just to make sure that I heard it correctly the first time. Itâ€™s inclusion is pure genius. As for the rest of the track, itâ€™s Gama Bomb thrashing away with driving riffs, quick drums and screams.
This next track starts off with a memorable riff and mid tempo drumming before shifting to chugging guitars and driving beats. The futuristic theme to this one is reflected in the lead shortly after the half way point. Nice gang shouts and some big screams punctuate the vocals.
A serious message within the lyrics? Actually, yes and itâ€™s completely delivered through a dual vocal attack and thrashing beats. The lead at the 1:30 mark is pretty damned sick.
A goofy bit of vocal noise starts this one off before rapid drums and driving riffs get this sub one minute track off to a quick start. Gang shouts as backing chorus are a nice addition.
Some nice riffing and creative drum work start off â€œHammer Slammerâ€ with a chugging pace. More gang vocals and a quick delivery from Byrne rule this one. The vocal delivery around the 1:50 mark reminds me of early Testament â€” a nice nod to those pioneering the thrash scene.
Sentenced to Thrash
Big riffing and heavy drums combine for a chugging monolith of an opener during the first 30 or so seconds of this one. Gama Bomb quick pick up the pace as the vocals kick in. Chugging guitars lead into a nice solo around the 2:15 mark. And what better way to end a track than by repeating â€œfuckâ€ a few times.
This one appears on the previously mentioned Thrashing Like a Maniac compilation. Itâ€™s got some nice tempo shifts throughout it and campy lyrics thatâ€™ll have you grinning like a drunken zombie.
A Slayer like opening to â€œHell Truckerâ€ gets going as a nice bit of guitar wizardry rips away. This one is a bit darker in sound overall, but still hits hard and often. Another lead just before the 1:20 mark has a soulful feel to it with more Eddie Van Halen than Kerry King.
Return of the Technodrome
A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reference in the title and lyrics. Nice. This is a fun track complete with robotic vocals and driving riffs. There is a shredding riff at the 1:26 point that would have the turtles spinning in their half shells.
Hi. My nameâ€™s Ray and Iâ€™m a thrashaholic. If only there were programs for folks with this debilitating, head banging sickness. This one serves as a great anthem for thrash metal. Itâ€™s a fast paced, beefy track with chugging riffs, catchy vocals and gang backing shouts.
In the Court of General Zod
Man, these guys are throwing all kinds of comic book and superhero references into this album. General Zod is a mortal enemy to Superman and even appeared on the big screen in Superman II. The backing vocals on this one have a very Dave Mustane feel to them. In fact, I had to listen to this track several times to make sure that it was not him â€” uncanny. Thereâ€™s another sweet solo at the 1:35 mark.
Chugging riffs and quick drums open up â€œSpace Invadersâ€ as Byrneâ€™s vocals come in. Group vocals and screams add a great dimension to this one.
â€œBullet Beltâ€ starts off with some click guitar work trading off between the two ax slingers. Some great lyrics dominate this one as the band proclaims war on fake thrash posers. Awesome.
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I do love me some thrash metal â€” especially when it pulls in influences from several generations and mediums including movies, music and comics. Gama Bombâ€™s Citizen Brain is a wild, blindfolded ride through thrashing beats, driving drums, ripping guitars and a great vocal delivery. Itâ€™s hard to ask much more of these guys as they have delivered a masterful bit of steaming, heavy metal.
Go buy this one right now!