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...and Justice for Aspid - 90%

kluseba, February 7th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2016, Digital, Metal Race Records (Bandcamp)

If this outstanding technical thrash metal record had been released a few years earlier by an American band, it would be considered a classic or even one of the greatest thrash metal records of all times today. However, this album was released on vinyl limited to one thousand copies by an unknown label from Latvia in the early nineties and was therefore completely overlooked. The album gained a cult following that was increased by a short reunion of the band a few years ago, the release of a re-mastered version and finally a digital release on Bandcamp. Aspid finally got the attention it deserved two decades after the initial release of this monster.

In a time when thrash metal bands were reinventing themselves to remain commercially successful, the quartet from Volgodonsk in Southwest Russia played technical thrash metal inspired by the genre's most defining records in the mid- to late eighties. However, Aspid managed to develop its very own sound based upon three components. The technical skills of every musician involved are particularly outstanding but never get too progressive since the songs still have a lot of coherency, energy and groove. Secondly, the songs are all rather long, focusing on extended instrumental passages instead of even attempting to craft shorter, catchier or calmer tracks. Thirdly, this uncompromising attitude is also reflected in the fact that there aren't many vocals as this album includes two entirely instrumental tracks as well as several songs that take a lot of time before the vocalist starts his vivid, raw and angry performance. The few lyrics are however quite interesting, proving that the band values quality over quantity.

Another element this album has going for it is its coherent vibe from start to finish, consisting of an angry, desperate and technical potpourri without any fillers. The gritty production adds to the record's atmosphere but isn't so bad that it would take away from the stunning musicianship. Without probably knowing it, the producers did the perfect job for this type of music. The memorable cover artwork, looking simplistic at first contact but offering more and more details as one takes a closer look, was designed in the same spirit. Everything seems to fit perfectly here.

My favorite songs would be the menacingly grooving band anthem ''Он пришёл (Аспид)'' that kicks the record off on a very high note, the mean monster ''К цели одной'' and the brilliant instrumental closer and title song ''Кровоизлияние'' that doesn't need any vocals because the four instrumentalists shine so brightly that they deserve all our attention. Bonus track ''Война'', apparently recorded in 2010 when the group reformed, blends in perfectly and proves that Aspid has aged very well.

It's a shame that the band didn't get the breakthrough it deserved and that its short-lived reunion didn't give them the second chance they should have got. If you read any metal magazine listing the greatest thrash albums of all times and they don't have this gem in their list, you can consider this magazine as yellow paper press. While this album here might not have reinvented the genre, it defines technical thrash metal like few or no other album does and the raw Russian lyrics make the final product even heavier than its Western counterparts. Thanks to the internet, you still have the chance to listen to a stunning technical thrash metal record that hasn't lost any of its passion over the past two and a half decades.

BEST RUSSIAN THRASH EVER!!! - 100%

ThrashFanatic, January 26th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Metal Race Records (Digipak, Limited edition, Remastered)

If this isn't the greatest technical thrash band ever, than I'd be damned! Aspid hail from the Volgodonsk, Rostov region in Russia. The band formed in 1988, and started to gain a fan base within the realms of Russian thrash. In 1992, they recorded their debut "Кровоизлияние" (Extravasation in English) at SNC Studios between May 3 and May 18. The album was then released on the Ritonis label in Latvia limited to 1000 copies on vinyl the following year. Now that the history is out of the way, let's take a look at the music...

The record begins with one of the best intros in all of music history. Simply titled "Intro", the intro features some horror movie styled synth played by vocalist Vitaliy Kholopov on a Roland-W30. The intro is so haunting, it sets the mood for what is to come... After the intro, "It Came (Aspid)" begins, and it is extremely technical! Guitarist Aleksander Sidorchik is one of the best thrash guitarists ever. His riffs are technical/progressive, and he is constantly changing tempo. His solos are perfection, some of the best ever. Vitaliy Kholopov's vocals are amazing. He switches from thrashy shouts to brutal growls. He sings in Russian, which adds to the unique nature of his vocals. Bassist Vladimir Pyzhenkov is a amazing bassist, he can be heard throughout the album which is great. Drummer Vasiliy Shapovalov is absolutely INSANE on drums. His drumming is some of the best I've heard in all my years of listening to music. His shining moments are during the middle section of "Towards One Goal", the intro of "Comatose State", and the intro of the title track. His performance is the best ever.

As for the highlights, well the whole damn thing is the highlight. However to keep this review short and concise, I'm just going to mention a few. "Give Me (Play For A Ballet)" begins with an epic synth and has some of the best riffs on the album. It is mid tempo, and then picks up speed before the solo. The song is nearly 8 and a half minutes, and is arguably the best here. "Where The Night" starts with a sick bass intro, and features the most technical riffs on the album. This track is also the only track on the record to feature blast beats, and the blast beats are perfectly placed! Lastly, I would like to mention the title track, which is an instrumental. The bass intro with the harmonics is beautiful, and the drum work makes it even better. The riffs here are great, and I like how a acoustic section makes an appearance. This is a perfect way to close out this masterpiece of tech thrash!

Overall, I admire the aspects of this album deeply. I was so memorized by this album the first time I heard it. The technical riffs are insane, odd time signatures are everywhere, and each band member are extremely proficient at their instruments. This is easily the greatest Russian thrash album, and one of my favorite albums of all time. Aspid proved that the Iron Curtain was removed for a reason. This is an absolute gem, Extravasation is technical/progressive thrash perfection at it's finest!

Highlights: EVERYTHING!!!

Russian aggression unleashed - 100%

Vortic, December 30th, 2017

The fall of the Iron Curtain saw the rise of many extreme metal bands from the Eastern Block. Many remain buried, waiting to be found. Aspid's Extravasation is a relic that has been discovered by the Internet. It is an excellent example of aggressive thrash metal, but not just your generic "0000" and blast beats, but one that is meticulously composed and still captivating, even after barely the first listen.

The first thing I would like to address is, of course, the guitars - the most essential part of any thrash record. The guitar tone is very rasp and overdriven, a defining characteristic of thrash metal. The riffs are intricate, most are fast yet still in time (Towards one Goal), with Give Me containing amazing slow riffs. Odd-time signatures are present, yet not overwhelming and used exactly where they should be. Syncopated 4/4 riffs are also very well implemented (It came (Aspid)). The solos are also absolute "tHrash", making Aleksander Sidorchik not only a great songwriter, but also a great lead. Next we have the drums. At first they seem rather generic, but after 2-3 listens you begin to appreciate that part of the album as well. The drummer, Vasiliy Shapovalov, keeps time and uses fills exactly when needed. His double bass is also very good (Hey You and Comatose State). Blast beats can be heard only on one track of this album and that is Where The Night and they are excellently executed, adding to the fierce atmosphere of the record. The bass is well mixed and Vladimir Pyzhenkov shows us that the stereotype of bad bassists is not that, well, stereotypical. Towards One Goal, Where The Night and the title track contain bass parts than are worthy of comparison to those of bass legends like Cliff Burton and Steve Harris. And, finally, we get to the vocals. Furious, at moments harsh, at others - high pitched, Vitaliy Kholopov delivers a great blend of both. Where The Night contains his best scream, while Give Me is a track that reaches death metal levels of harsh vocals.

Now, these four things wouldn't mean a thing if they didn't go well together, would they? The good news are - they do. And this is my point when it comes to composition. None of the insturments prevails, none of the musicians is lacking in performance. Everything is exactly how it should be for a thrash record, and even more - the fact that it is technical makes the whole thing even better. Everything is taken into account, even the intro, which is a synth track that introduces us to the album's atmosphere and further proves my point of expert instrumentation. Production-wise it is what one would expect from an early 90's thrash gem - not the cleanest production, but that just improves the album's sense of fury and darkness. The lyrics are also very typical, yet still well written. Aggression, social injustice, Towards One Goal even reffers to the fall of the Iron Curtain, as far as I understand.

In conclusion, I am saddened by the fact such an amazing record has remained buried in the depths of time. It is a masterpiece of aggression and technicality, the instrumentation is superb and the overall mood of the album is dark, furious, and menacing. Extravasation lacks a single bad moment, you are captivated by the whole experience and, in the end, you are left longing for more, only to realise this is Aspid's only release. I do hope that, with time, this album receives the attention it deserves.

Aspid- Extravisitation - 95%

stenchofishtar, December 17th, 2013

Released in 1992 and just a year on the back of the USSR’s collapse, the only album of the Russian band Aspid comes after the the former Soviet nation brought the world metal bands that were and continue to be well known and respected within the former Eastern Bloc, but within Western Europe and the Anglophone world at large, continue to be relatively unknown except to a few.

Flawless musicians, and obviously the subjects of a classical training, Aspid exhibit a virtuosity that runs parallel with their fellow countrymen, especially the neoclassicist heavy metal of Magnit and Credo. Added is the swagger and aggression that defined Korrozia Metalla, and having a highly technical bent, Swiss legends Coroner also bear an obvious influence.

Songs are consonant and dynamic like the first Obliveon album, and some of the rhythm guitar technique is quite similar to Kreator circa ‘Extreme Aggression’. A parallel can certainly be drawn with the highly adept American bands Sadus, Atheist and Hellwitch in the use of oddball technique and fluidity of execution.

The production here is thin, yet it is crisp, sharp and linear. Aside from the dominant instrumental centrepiece of guitar, the bass is high within the mix, drum patterns are heavily pronounced and syncopated, bringing a nice juxtaposition to the rhythm section that keeps the songs engaging and engrossing as a musical experience. Solos are intricate, vibrant and heavily melodious. Vocals are distinctly Russian sounding, heavily accentuated and in their delivery give a further sense of polyrhythm to the arrangements.

Whilst most certainly a thrash band on account of their aesthetic, Aspid use technique like a death metal act would. The emphasis on breaks between riffs could easily fit with Suffocation, and the vibrant use of palm muting and melodic fretwork is as spiralling and enriched as what could be heard on classic Atrocity. Whilst death metal had since the late 80′s been a foundational genre within the West, it seems obvious that outside of that spectrum there were those familiar with it and able to apply it in terms of form and substance, as is the case with these Russians.

‘Extravasation’ is a great rarity. It is highly adept, never overindulgent, very well composed and manages to cultivate a distinctly national character to itself, where the influences are traceable but in no way imitative.

http://stenchofishtar.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/obscurities-aspid-extravasation/

Simply Superb - 95%

Svartekrist, September 30th, 2011

Russia is the home of many bands, one of these bands is, or was, the short lived Aspid or Аспид in Russian. They released a single album during their time, Extravasation or in Russian, Krovoizliyaniye. It sadly missed the mark, and did not receive much attention until the internet was truly harnessed and became a more resourceful tool. So now, over twenty years after initial release, what does it sound like? One of the most awesome bands from Russia. Lets start with the instrumentation.

First of all are the vocals, like with many thrash metal bands, sounds like a ten year old angry kid hoped up on steroids. These are both fun and energetic, with a good dose of conviction to them.
As for the bass guitar, there are few bands, of any genre really, that have such an audible bass guitar. It plays fast and frantic and is all over the place with its crazy finger picking technique. It is highly enjoyable listening to it. Then comes the guitar, it plays a lot of dynamic riffs with the occasional shift in tempo. And like with the bass guitar, it is fast, and it throws out some really awesome riffs and leads. Finally are the drums, these are catchy, fast, dynamic and use a lot of rhythm to drive the music forwards. Sometimes, they simply pound away before dropping into rhythmic assaults. Once again, highly enjoyable.

As for the production and and mixing, there is nothing to complain about here. Both may be outdated, but both fit the music perfectly. Everything is audible, and the music is overall clear, yet have a little raw grit to it that is not too overpowering. And now the songwriting. All of the songs are in general well structured and written. Naturally, there are sections here and there that are a little lackluster compared to the majority of the album. But these lackluster parts are easily drowned and forgotten by the more great sections on this album. As for the musicianship, the guys of Aspid is in tune and synch with each other and it is clearly heard.

All in all, there is nothing truly bad or horrendous going on here. Some quirks, naturally, but aside from those miniscule things, nothing at all to complain about, purely technically. Personal taste may of course create any problems. But the bottom line is, if you want good thrash metal, Aspid is what you need. If you want check if thrash metal is your thing, Aspid is definitely a good band to start with.

Stand-out tracks: The entire album.
9,5/10

Impressive is an Understatement for Aspid! - 100%

Insinneratorvokills, August 18th, 2011

This is easily what I would refer to as a perfect album. From start to finish these guys blend a flavor of old school thrash aggression with technical elements in ways that create the perfect CD! Down to the very basics of it, I love the riffs, the transitions, the vocals, and the overall production, if I may, of the CD itself.

Starting with the best feature on any thrash album, the riffs are the first thing I bring up in conversation about any great thrash album! They have a very nice blend of riffs in this CD, which is the perfect way to do it in my humble opinion. I hate it when bands get stuck up with how technical they are, or how "tr00 frash" they can possibly get. They have the aggressive Exodus esque riffs to the dark Slayer tone. And, that can easily be represented in every song. On that note, I also notice that they have techy elements it more parts than others when progressing through a song! There is just so many points on this album where I have to stop and click on my player to remember which part of the song that particular riff is located. There is just so many of them!

Another thing that stands out to me, that I notice not many other bands do, is having the right connection between verses, and verse to chorus, and so on. But, above that! However, I notice that they go beyond and don't do quite the same thing every time. Granted they do in some songs, but this is the easiest way to show one how creative and just how much time you spent on these songs; it's incredible. One song in particular is "It Came (Aspid)" in the end where the vocalist holds out that scream.

And, speaking of the vocals, these are amazing! I've never heard anything like it! I don't know if it is the Russian, or the speed and tonality. I hardly ever mention the vocals, because I am so instrument driven. But, I love the tone and the structuring of the vocals so much that I had to give them a shout. I just love it when vocals throw a different pattern into the mix that the guitars may not be playing; and to hear that match up just really catches my eye. On a personal note, I just think that’s a good way to have things in a style of music that doesn't depend on the vocals to carry the song. And, coming from a guy that plays bass and does the screaming in a band, this is something that will always catch my eye!

Lastly, before I bring this to a close, I wanted to mention how I see this as damn near perfect production quality. If it is an album from 1989 or 2011, this is how I want an album to sound. I love hearing the guitar so loud in the mix. Riffs always need to catch your attention, and what better way to go that by having a great guitar mix but, not overpowering. I can still hear the drums perfectly, I love the snare sound. I may have brought the bass up just slightly in the mix, but I definitely would not take away points for this, being a bass player, my opinion is bias. That and I love this bass tone! I love how the highs are brought out; it’s something that I think is HUGELY underrated with bass players. I love how you can hear the tone with the treble and the highs before you get some overpowering vibration, by someone just turning up the bass all the way.

There is not one thing I disliked about this album. A wordy review to say the least, but in all fairness I could go on and on about this album forever. Everything is just stunning; the riffs, transitions and structure, the vocals, and even down to the basic mix and mastering. Certainly a classic in any thrashers book, and if you haven’t heard of them; YouTube them immediately!

Favorite tracks: It Came (Aspid), Where the Night, and Extravasation

Best thrash ever from Russia? - 89%

morbert, June 9th, 2010

Let's cut to the chase. What are the arguments for Aspid being quite a forgotten name outside the thrash incrowd? Two things really. They're from Russia and secondly their 'Extravasation' album came out about 3 to 4 years to late to leave an everlasting imprint at that moment in time. The scene was already evolving into the second wave of black and death metal just got another techoboost from Death's Human album. So who was still interested in technothrash in '92? Only the real fanatics and die-hards.

Had the group come from Germany and therefor more promotion worldwide, they might actually have gotten more fame. Because it's not because of their music, which is remarkably high standard, musically, compositionally and productionally for early nineties Russian standards.

If one listens to 'Comatose State', which in my opinion would have been the best choice as an opener, one can hear this bands really loves their Sodom and Destruction but throws in more technicality, rhythmically. Same could be said about the amazing thrasher 'Towards One Goal' which really explodes into quality full speed thrash after a minute of building up. Aspid are musically very impressive on the 7 minute titletrack which has Destruction-meats-Coroner written all over it.

Musically Aspid borrow heavily from the German scene with hints of Brazilian proto-deaththrash thrown in. And if the technical breaks and such are just too much for some straight forward thinking thrashers, the band find time to break your necks once more with the ultra speed monster 'Where the Night' which at times combines technothrash with almost grindcorish blasts without becoming a racket nor actual grind.

This aggressive yet well performed technothrash gets more character because it is sung in Russian, giving it its own specific charm. I will hold the album dearly. A true forgotten gem.

Highlights: 'Comatose State', 'Towards One Goal' , 'Where the Night'

Unfairly obscure thrash masterpiece - 96%

Bass_desires, July 5th, 2009

Album artwork is a big part of what you think of an album before you get the chance to listen. After all, the album cover artist is responsible for representing the visual aspect of a musician's work. When your album cover consists of a demonic dragon ripping it's way up from underneath a sprawling city, the music is expected to be aggressive, fast and pure fucking metal. Fortunately, this group of Ruskis match and exceed those expectations, and prove to the world that the Iron Curtain was pulled for a reason.

Starting off with a neat synthesizer intro, you are lulled in to a false sense of peace before the pummeling riffage of It Came (Aspid). I came right alongside it, because that guitar solo is absolutely orgasmic. The aforementioned synth shows it's face only three times (the intro, a little bit before It Came (Aspid)'s guitar solo and at the beginning of Give Me (Play for a Ballet)). It's a shame, though, because they could've easily boosted my rating up to a 98 with more well placed usage.

Now it's time to get in to the individual musicians, starting with guitarist Alexander Sidorchik, undoubtedly the star of this show. From extremely headbangable (for tech/prog thrash) riffs flowing smoothly in to each other to guitar solos that are amazing no matter what genre of metal you prefer, this guy just rips and shreds and I love every second of it.

Next up is drummer Vasily Shapovalov. Although he is blasting away most of the time, it's the little things he does, like the plentiful fills, creative cymbal work and double bass bursts (with a touch of bell tree in the title track) that make him so great. Screw Gene Hoglan, this guy is the king of thrash drummers (and silly last names. Just try and say it without smiling. I dare you).

Vocal duties are handled by Vitaliy Hlopov, with lyrics in Russian. His range seems to be wide, from occasional borderline death growls to standard thrash screeches, but he sticks to his predominate in between style. However, his delivery is convincing and suitably snarly and aggressive. His style fits the music spot on.

And finally, we have bassist Vladimir Pzenkhov. Pretty standard metal bassist, doubling the guitar for damn near the whole duration. Unlike 99% of other metal bassists, though, his tone is very present and VERY unique. From the sound of it, it's pickstyle with the treble so high that it's almost fuzzing out. He also gets a little bit of the spotlight in the final song, Extravasation, exploring a lot of harmonics right alongside regular notes. Nothing extremely special, but, like Vitaliy on vocals, he fits really well into the overall Aspid sound. More non-guitar-following passages would've been greatly appreciated, but that is my beef with most metal bassists anyway, so he is partially forgiven. Besides, the title track shows him doing his own thing more in one song then the aforementioned stereotypical bassists do in their entire careers.

Destruction will always be the band these guys are compared to, because they are the closest sounding band to the Teutonic thrash masters (to my knowledge, discounting cover bands). If you think Destruction would kick more ass with more technicality, listen to this album ASAP. Even if you don't, this album is a must for any fan of tech thrash.

Teched-up Destruction - 80%

Kruel, May 28th, 2008

This is what Destruction would sound like had they been a full-fledged technical thrash metal band.

First of all, the vocals sound quite similar. This vocalist, though, sounds harsher (so, these are fully harsh vocals). There are some high-pitched screams (see: beginning of Towards One Goal), but most of the time the vocals remain mid-pitched. And he sings in a Russian accent or in Russian language (I cannot be sure, because my version does not have a lyric sheet and the lyrics are not on the Archives either; probably the lyrics are a combination of English and Russian), creating an exotic feeling by his speech itself.

The guitar tone is where it really shows the similarity with Destruction. Total buzzsaw. Along with Eternal Devastation, the guitar tone on this one is the most buzzsaw guitar tone I have ever heard. And, you know, buzzsaw guitars can be awesome if done right, especially with great riffage. This is such a case.

And the riffs are great. Somewhat in the vein of Destruction, too, are the riffs. Long-winded and complicated, and yet they retain the headbangable nature of thrash riffs. And these are, as these are teched-up, more complicated than Destruction riffs (at least on a general level), and less headbangable (but still has plenty of headbangabiity; just less than Destruction). There are a lot of tempo changes and odd time signatures, too, as will be expected from a technical album. The chorus of It Came features a deceleration. There is a good balance of more upbeat riffs and darker sounding riffs, and each riff morphs into another through smooth transitions.

The guitar solos are one of this album¡¯s high points, if not the absolute pinnacle. These solos are some of the best, if not the best, solos in thrash metal, up there, or above, the solos from Rust in Peace, Rigor Mortis (s/t), and Time Does Not Heal. These solos are like Trey Azagthoth and Randy Rhoads combined. That description alone should be enough to tell how awesome these solos are, but it sounds like an oxymoron. Azagthoth and Rhoads, that¡¯s almost ironical! And yet, that was the feeling I instantly got when I first heard the solos of this album. There is an excellent usage of the tremolo arm finger tapping to create the unorthodox sound a la Morbid Angel, and at the same time, they are highly elaborate, beautiful and smooth. But, you really need to listen to these to fully comprehend the meaning. Just remember: these solos are the best in thrash.

The intro track is actually worth a mention, because it is actually one of the best songs on the album, despite it being an ambient synth track. The spacy atmosphere and beautiful melodies with a bit of gloomy mood are all there in the two-minute ambient piece, and this is such a great track that I was genuinely disappointed to find out that the rest of the album did not make use of the synth. Had they incorporated some synths of the quality of this intro, this might have been a revolution. Anyway, this is one of the best intro tracks in any genre, metal or not.

This little known Russian work of technicality deserves more attention. If you are a fan of technical thrash, do not miss this out. More so if you like the more brutal side of thrash, too. Oh, and of course, this is a must for Destruction fans.