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"Alpha-Kill-'Em-All!" - 85%

ByZiltoidsCommand, August 26th, 2012

Well shit, if you had told me Winnipeg would be granted a band embracing the groovier, ultra-technical nuances of thrash à la the greatest of the bay area such as Alphakill during the retro thrash explosion of 2007 and onward, I probably would have laughed it off pretty hard. Not that there's much wrong with that ethic, but it's been 5 years since Municipal Waste and co. gained serious metal notoriety and there's only so many 1 – 2 minute spastic tirades on beer, pizza and posers this reviewer can take. The point here being, Alphakill's not only a fine new thrash band coming into their own, but a much, much needed breath of putrid air for the whole scene.

The album kicks off with one of its' finest full-frontal aural assaults – Thrash Eternal. The first track sports some furious riff work, an unrelenting cannon of a bass drum, some surprisingly soaring, yet rowdy vocals throughout and culminating in a piercing lead break near the end that sounds like it would've been right at home on “Ashes In Your Mouth.” Then barely giving you room to breath, Let Me Die roars right in with a growling, rolling bass and drum intro before launching into one of the album's finest groovier riffs, bringing to mind the best of latter day Overkill or even Symphony X's more pounding material. Don't be taken aback by the stop-start grooves in the verse, Justin snarls out the lyrics with some real venom and conviction, bringing the chorus to an absolute roar. The vocals definitely carry this particular song, and they can and will widen your eyes upon the second chorus (“I don't want more surgereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!”).

I really can't recommend the vocals or the axe-work on this record much higher. Stear and Warren pass around leads and double riffs like a reborn, revitalized Mustaine/Friedman, Peterson/Skolnick, Holt/Atlus, and any other legendary guitar teams you'd care to add to the list. As stated above, Justin's vocals deserve special mention as well. Eschewing the done-to-death Paul Baloff meets Kreator worship of modern thrash vocalists, Stear snarls and wails his way through the album in a far more melodic, yet infinitely more vicious approach reminiscent of the absolute best days of Hetfield, or at times a far more tuneful Randy Rampage with some shockingly strong falsetto shrieks here and there throughout the record, tapping into just enough of the one and only Blitz to leave this discerning thrash fan smiling from ear to ear. Of course, it'd be impossible to complete the review without mention of ex-Evil Survives drummer Derrick Kroll's typically ace performance behind the kit, the double bass assault is, as mentioned, an absolute CANNON in your eardrums, and overall he delivers some spastic, frantic, yet perfectly controlled and precise fills, rolls and rhythms all around. Bassist Jesse unfortunately, isn't exactly playing at the front and center of things, but this is a thrash album we're talking about and not everyone can be Sadus. That being said, he's still much more audible than you'd expect and even steps out with a few intros and fills here and there (Becoming the Alpha's got some neat stuff right below the surface!), giving Stear and Warren a rock solid foundation and locking things down quite well.

Overall, this is one hell of a sprint out of the starting gate for Winnipeg's latest thrash heroes bringing together an absolutely pristine production (done by none other than King Diamond's Andy LaRoque!!!), shredding, skull-crushing (pun intended) riffs and lead work, no-holds-barred drumming and some of the best thrash vocals I've heard in ages to inflict some much-needed good, friendly violent fun on the great white north's metal-hungry masses. The only real gripes holding this back from a perfect score are mostly personal preferences like taking a little more emphasis on strong chorus hooks like Let Me Die and Threat From Within into every song and a few more pounding mid-tempos along the lines of the title track and Age of the Debt Slaves could help the pacing of this album a tad and as always, turn up the bass (though once again, it's a thrash album). But all in all, Unmitigated Disaster is just that, and is an absolute killer of an album.

Here's to the Alphakill wrecking crew, I for one can't wait to see just how they blow this one out of the water with their next great release!