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Retro thrash in no retro way! - 74%

Lane, June 3rd, 2012

Thrash till you drop! I bet this is one true philosophy for these Far East eardrum tormentors. 'The Highest Law' is the debut album from Ritual Carnage, the band who was put together by American Damian Montgomery.

Ritual Carnage perform old-school thrash metal without any intention of putting something new or different elements into this well-known form of extreme style of metal. They, however, aren't "retro" like Bewitched (the Swedish one) and therefore Ritual Carnage work much better. The sound isn't made in a jurassic way, but it's modern enough with needed punch. The rhythm guitars are just dense, as is the whole production, with the bass being a bit lost into it. Recorded at Morrisound Studios, it's not a surprise, that at times it all enters the death metal territory.

As stated before, this is true old-school thrash metal. Bay Area mayhem meet German devastation. The songs are fast and they live from good riffs. There's enough of those good riffs to make the songs alive, but truly great riffs are scattered scantily. The biggest reason is, that many a riff is just quite bloody familiar. Still, this grabs by the balls pretty forcefully. Sometimes blasting, sometimes more punky, never tiring. Song durations, too, guarantee that.

If some parts are a bit familiar, then lyrics are simply old news. As they are targeted towards every religion, what would you expect them to be?! Something like "Satan, master, hell, you lead this war"? You're absolutely right. Okay, there's some funny lines such as "I will rape your soul, by the rites of Lucifer!", but overall, the lyrics are just so familiar. 'Metal Forces' is a tribute to band's favorite artists. Damian Montgomery's shout is raspy and meaty, unlike typical thrash metal types, and it is very effective in any case. There's something black and death metallic in his voice.

High speed riffing and brutal solos, lots of double bass drum with fast rolls and attitude are present. Good! This is well done thrash attack and definitely on better side, but as the whole thrash metal genre is once again blooming, hopefully Ritual Carnage's next one will snap some necks with greater songs.

(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2002)