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Gama Bomb is an 80s style speed/thrash metal band out of Northern Ireland who focus on geeky lyrical concepts about horror, pulp and science fiction stories. They're also one of the faster artists out there, with a style that recalls early Exodus and Overkill on speed. The riffing is quite fantastic on this record, even better than their last album Citizen Brain. But perhaps the best thing about this is that Earache and Gama Bomb have decided to offer it as a free download over at the Earache Records site, thus you have really no excuse not to check it out. Simply fork over your email address, and begin the ritual neck breaking.
Tales from the Grave in Space is simply a riff monster, every track features thrusting, energetic guitar work that mirrors the very best of the wilder US thrash of two decades past. Clearly these two guys spent a great deal of time composing these rhythms, and the album is richer for it. I'm not a big fan of the leads, they're wild and sporadic but rarely leave an impression. The bass and drums keep the pace well, but I'm divided on the vocals. Philly Byrne's mid-range reminds me of older Bobby Ellsworth when he was doing his lower sneers, but he also incorporates these falsetto shrieks which I wasn't feeling. Gama Bomb is already a comical band, due to their delicious taste in cheesy concepts, and I just don't think the shrieks add anything here, since the majority of Byrne's lower range vocals are already pretty kickass.
Still, these quips aside, Tales from the Grave in Space is a good time, and for most of the album (excluding the hammy "Slam Anthem" and "Mussolini Mosh"), they focus the lyrics on robots, mummies, ninjas, and zombies. These issues are relevant to me. "New Eliminators of Atlantis B.C.", "Escape from Scarecrow Mountain", "Return to Blood Castle" and "Skeletron" are all quite awesome ways to kill a few dull moments while whipping your neck and arms around in a frenzy. The album sounds pretty damn good, probably an instant purchase (or download) for fans of Municipal Waste and other high speed, 80s thrash pranksters. The riffs and lyrical concepts stole the show for me; I could have lived without the higher vocals, but fortunately they don't rob the album of all its fun. Offering the digital album to check out for free was a great idea for the band and label, it is good to see that some folks in the metal industry are learning to adapt to reality.
Highlights: New Eliminators of Atlantis B.C., Escape from Scarecrow Mountain, Return to Blood Castle, Skeletron