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There’s a pretty strong consensus amongst newer adherents to the thrash metal scene that the subgenre’s revival should stick to the olden ferocity of high speed riffs, over-the-top drum beats and a middle of the road compromise between air-raid sirens and gruff vocals exemplified by the classic green, red and black days of the 80s. Historically speaking, Germany has put forth its fair share of all three colors, though much of the unfettered rage attributed to important acts like Kreator and Destruction showcase a scene somewhat biased in favor of the proto-death metal red form. But in newer bands like Mortal Infinity, there’s a surprising affinity with the modern, grayish character that has been prominent amongst the reformed Bay Area acts in the past 10 years.
“District Destruction” could very easily be lumped together with a number of recent albums such as Death Angel’s “Relentless Retribution”, Heathen’s “The Evolution Of Chaos” or Exodus’ “Exhibit B: The Human Condition” in all their chunky, punchy, modernized glory. But when combining said approach with a vocal assault that is very similar to the raw, Phil Anselmo inspired shouts of Chuck Billy of late (a sound all too often mistaken for death metal vocals given they bear some similarity to the high pitched, raw character of middle era Death and several Gothenburg acts), this thing literally sounds like it could have stood in the place of the just recently released “Dark Roots Of Earth”. The format at play here is quite aggressive, though taking care to walk a line between mid-paced groove and high speed thunder so as not to find itself lodged in similar territory as The Crown.
Though largely a style that’s not as intricate and involved as a lot of the insane earlier offerings of the Bay Area such as “Eternal Nightmare” or “The Ultra-Violence”, there’s a good amount going on here to keep things reasonably engaging. They do find themselves making a slight nod to the past during the beginning prelude with a dreary acoustic guitar line, though in a fairly different vain than the archaic haunting character of “Beneath The Remains” or the classicism of the intro to “Battery”. When “Thrill To Kill” kicks in, it’s clear that aggression is high on the radar, as one pummeling set of slamming, palm muted grooves interchange with a high paced drum beat that occasionally finds it blasting, much like the recent tinkering around the edges heard out of Testament of late.
Generally speaking, this album tends to be at its best when the songs are shorter and stick to the neck and body ruining tempo range. “Condemned Rising” and “Sound Of Brutality” basically steal the show by avoiding the overplayed breakdowns that tend to drag out most of the songs on here clocking in at over 5 minutes. There’s not a whole lot of technical showboating in the guitar solo department, which is not altogether unexpected for a band approaching a modern variant on this style. There are a good number of melodic twists to be found, most of them effective, but nothing that really stands out as an overt example of the fret board blazing madness that is still to be found in Testament’s work.
For the most part, this is a pretty consistent and fun listen, though I can’t really get overly excited about it. It seems to want to emulate Testament something awful, yet doesn’t quite follow through on the subtle intricacies of said band. Some of the riffs sound a bit similar, and the lack of an outright memory clenching classic, apart from maybe “Thrill To Kill”, it has a hard time keeping pace with the multitude of modernity infused albums coming out of bands that have been at this since the mid 80s. It wouldn’t be an outright waste to track down, but there’s other fish in the sea that have ingested far more metal from the polluted waterways of thrash.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 9, 2012.