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I’m not into thrash that much, but having witnessed Headless Cross at Bloodstock Open Air 2006, I felt that it was worth my while to pick up their EP Burning Sanctuary from the merchandise stand. Their live show was tight and full of energy and raw power, something that I hoped would also be apparent on this disc. Although it didn’t quite pack the punch of the live show, the album showed that the band are one to watch out for in the thrash scene.
Headless Cross are not the fastest or most technical band that you’ll ever hear, but that doesn’t stop them writing good thrash songs. From the second the jagged opening riff of “Elysium” opens the disc and the double bass flourishes join in, you know you’re on to something promising. Dave Silver’s vocals remind me a bit of Dave Mustaine, except with a slightly harsher tone, which fit the music perfectly. The song flows along nicely with a memorable chorus and a pretty cool solo to boot. “Circle of Madness” slows the pace down ever so slightly but still has solid riffs and an anthem like chorus, which would definitely be a crowd pleaser live. “Testament of the Deceiver” is more of the same though it pales in comparison to the other tracks.
Tracks four and five are where the band truly shows of their talent. “Blinding Sorrow” is a mostly acoustic affair that can immediately draw comparisons with Metallica’s “Fade to Black”, with a very similar vocal melody and introduction. The guitar work is quite exceptional as the band flawlessly shifts from soft acoustic passages to a heavy(ish) middle section, with a solo that whilst not complex is incredible in it’s beauty and simplicity.
The title track finishes the disc with another thrash fest. Its opening is similar to Metallica’s “Creeping Death”, leading to a brief tranquil passage before again launching into a barrage of double kicks and heavy riffs that will get you headbanging, with another simple yet memorable chorus. What stands this apart from the other thrashers on this disc is the ending to the song, where awesome dual guitar harmonies are mixed with Kreator like riffs over a thunderous double bass beat for over two minutes until ending in a flourish.
Any fan of thrash would find this to be a very satisfying listen. The production is clear enough and the songs never get dull or overstay their welcome. A mention must be made about the solos, which are never mindless shred fests despite being quite fast and technical, which is a major plus point for the band. Although they are hardly the most original band in existence, they are still a very promising band for the future of thrash metal.