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A worthy comeback! - 81%

BudDa, September 21st, 2009

There are two ways you can look at this album. The first half of Unborn Again is very reminiscent of their glory days, in particular, Insult to Injury(’90). The second half, on the other hand, can be compared to their yesteryear's of Thrashback(’98)-in both deliverance and thrash-attack. The only thing the 2nd half of this album has over Thrashback is the clear production and that is saying a lot cause the production on Thrashback and Sit Stand Kneel Prey is awful-Which is kinda funny because their earlier albums especially the aforementioned Insult to Injury had a clear sound.

Whiplash is an interesting band. Tony Portaro, the bands vocalist and guitarist, has been with the band since its inception but listening to Whiplash's previous efforts during the weekend, I couldn't help but wonder whether it was the same vocalist for Power and Pain ‘85, Insult to Injury ‘90 and Thrashback ‘98. Yeah, the vocal approach did change from the rap-kinda technique in '85, to clear-semi-high pitched vocals used in '90 to the somewhat, angry death-ish snarls used in '98. After doing some extensive research, it became evident to me that vocal duties alternated between Glenn Hansen and Portaro. But even the playing approach changed from medium tempo, bluesy-thrashy metal to speed-thrash metal in the late '90s. Anyhow, since then, Glenn has left and hence Portaro has been left to shoulder both guitar and vocal duties. Just how does he fair in Unborn Again?!

Portaro delivers with a touch of class. His vocals not only have a melodic edge to them, but also a simultaneous, abrupt high-pitched sharp scream. Something that I found awesome and very fitting for this record which looks like was set in the early nineties when Pornography and Heavy metal were such a big deal; and parents at that time, were all up in arms screaming "Crucify Dee Schneider!"

'Swallow the Slaughter' and 'Snuf' are very reminiscent of 'Voice of Sanity' and 'Hirosima' off the Insult to Injury album. The tracks are mid-tempo but with lovely guitar chops and heavy sumptuous breakdowns. The drumming is simply impressive. Its not flashy or anything but its tasty with loads of double bass which is sync with the bass. Of course Whiplash have reminded true to their sound and while you can expect most of the advantages enjoyed with recent technology on this album(clear production) they have still maintained their bluesy-heavy bass driven ambiance on a most of their songs

Some of you might argue that this is too 'weak' for a thrash record! And quite frankly, yes, this lacks the aggregation of most thrash records but don't despair yet. This album picks up right about 'Float Face Down'. The song begins with a RIDICULOUS bass-line but then suddenly metamorphoses into power/thrashy fodder. Galloping heavy riffs, album-defining solos and head banging atmosphere while Portaro sings and shouts, "Gasping for Air, Spit out your last breath as you float..faccce...DOWNNNNNN!!". 'Fight or Flight' is no different. It’s a bit slower than the previous but goddamn! Does it have one heck of a mosher riff. Couple that with a superb solo!!

From this point onwards there isn't a dull moment on this album. The songs are more in the vein of 'Stab', 'Thrash til Death'(Thrashback) and 'Climb out of Hell'(Sit Stand Kneel Prey) including an over zealous riff instrumental in 'Parade of Two Legs' and a track-'I'v got the Fire', where Portaro sounds like hes singing from under water! That and the album ender 'Feeding Frenzy' will make you want to replay them over and over again. Prepare to Head bang till you drop!