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Whooaaa, what the fuck?? - 46%

UltraBoris, January 6th, 2003

So we have England's best black-thrash band at the time, Onslaught, the purveyors of quality raw thrash metal, and then they get the dude from Grim Reaper on vocals. They also get some really slick production and melody and... well, it's really not BAD, but this is not the Onslaught that we love.

There are still some great fucking thrash riffs to be found here, but the fluffiness tends to dominate quite a bit. For example, the intro track is FIVE minutes of random noises. Skip button. Then, the title track for example. Monster thrash riffs come out of nowhere, and then... we've got that dude that used to sing for Grim Reaper. He's a great singer but he does not belong on a thrash album. His drawn-out melodic vocals just do not go well with the choppy riffage.

Okay, vocals aside, because he still is doing a good powerful job, so I won't hate him like I hate Gene Adam. The riff quality also went downhill a bit, in that the middle breaks are not nearly as interesting as on the previous album. It also seems they are riding that one midpaced riff (the opening riff to the title track, for example) just a bit too much without all that much variation to it, as it pops up again pretty much in every song. For example, Shellshock is a total continuation of In Search of Sanity.

The highlight of the album has to be Blood Upon the Ice, because it has the best overall riff assault. That midpaced riff is pretty damn cool, and you know what, an entire album using it as a backbone probably COULD work well if you didn't fuck up the other details - but it's on shaky ground with the vocals and the general lack of great counterpoint riffs. Then, a lot of the songs are overlong - longer on average than on The Force, and with fewer riffs, that is bad. Welcome to Dying is the perfect example of this. Snooze.

The lead guitars - those are great here, much more focus on them than in previous albums. However, unlike other thrash albums with great lead guitar (see Coma of Souls), these do totally replace the riffs in the mix a lot of the time, as opposed to adding to them.

Oddly enough, the bonus track is very nice, because it's a demo or something - thus it doesn't sound nearly as overproduced!