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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.