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Criminally underrated modern thrash. - 97%

SculptedCold, February 9th, 2006

I can't help but feel that this album has been treated with injustice, both by the modern melodic death fans who heard this was boring thrash and passed it by, and by the old-school thrash fans who more or less dismiss any attempt at thrash in the modern day, unless by a classic band with a classic album or two already under the belt.

Why? I'm inclined to think most who have tried to listen to this didn't have ears, and those who did have ears had them burnt-off by the sheer firestorm of this album and went on to rate it badly out of spite.

Slaugherhouse Supremacy is not on the same (lowly) plateau as The Haunted; The Haunted couldn't write a single thrash riff as good as the worst riff on this album if they were tied to chairs and subjected to Darkness Descends, The Ultra-Violence and Pleasure To Kill for a year (even though The Haunted's style should, if it was any good, be directly informed by the latter.) Nor is Slaughterhouse a Gothenburg album diluted with accessibility-pandering melody, and although there is no lack of melodic touches as written by the previous reviewers, since when did even classic thrash completely omit a bit of melody and actual atmosphere? Well, what we do get with this first Terror 2000 offering is the purest thrash sound of any of the new school of 'modern' thrash and death/thrash bands, at least in terms of individual riff composition and quality. There is a balanced mix of slower riffs flirting with undeveloped melody which usually construct the pre-choruses and choruses, and intense, rhythmically dense riffage forming the backbone of the sound; blisteringly fast-picked riffs that would have nestled comfortably amongst the songs of the aforementioned classics; riffs picked so fast they almost don't even sound possible at points. In a modern scene filled with so much half-assed-half-thrash, it's refreshing to see a band formed from arguably dubious other bands that was determined enough to play real thrash riffs with conviction and speed, and i'm surprised their efforts are viewed with such scorn.

In amusing myself, I have sometimes imagined how history might have progressed were Slaughterhouse Supremacy released around '87 or '86... I can see it being regarded not as classic, but possibly important, and often paired off and contrasted against an album like Darkness Descends, where the former is cited as lacking quantity (of riffs) but making up for it with sheer quality, and the latter of course contrasted with an expression that might run something like 'I think Dark Angel must have only ever heard the "quantity" part of the saying.'

But it wasn't released then, and its few faults are those that identify it in the modern era. As mentioned, quality over quantity (or maybe just a lack of both in the case of most modern half-thrash) is the replacement for vintage thrash' notorious obsession with the latter. The song structures follow a little varied verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus format, quite unlike their forebears which forced linearity through constant injection of fresh riffage, and finally, there is more use of melody than most classic thrash. Not neccessarily over the album's songs as a whole, but rather in concentrated form, highlighted within 'Burn Bitch Burn!' which is as effective at hooking your ear as it is at sanding your face off. The flaws on paper are glaring, especially if you're particularly astringent and choose to go riff-counting as a quality indicator, but the intensity and speed of the riffs on offer go a long way to distracting one's attention from the more conventional aspects of Terror 2000's approach, even the typically 'fun' choruses that other reviewers have criticized. In answer to that, let me just suggest that thrash has never been one to refrain from a lyrically bawdy chorus, and Terror 2000 provide no exception with the frantic shoutings on this disc; Strid's harsh and rapid-fire utterances are every bit as aserbic in delivery as the music beneath and display light-heartedness and viciousness in equal measure.

It doesn't really matter what I say; The Haunted and The Crown fans will find this far too harsh to enjoy, and the UltraBorises of the world will never give it the time of day. It's a shame really, because Slaughterhouse Supremacy is a truly blistering and uncompromising thrash powerhouse; modernity absolutely notwithstanding.