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No unmitigated-level disasters present at all - 99%

slayrrr666, June 6th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Independent

The debut offering from Canadian progressive thrashers Alphakill, “Unmitigated Disaster,” is one of the most blistering assaults from the genre in years and could very well be the starting point for a fantastic career for the band.

From the start, it’s quite evident that this is a rather devoted old-school thrash band that has just a hint of technical skill that carries through the music. Fueled by crunchy guitar rhythms and that devastating tone that ring true for any of the Bay Area stalwarts in the 80s heyday, this is more than just a modern band utilizing an old-school sounding production job to sound pleasing but rather a band that’s steadily building a framework with that familiar structure to hang a series of complex and utterly ripping riffs off of. In a nice change of pace, this isn’t technically-complex and challenging material to play simply for the sake of showing off the kind of dexterity they have or simply for the overkill of whipping through spindly riffs for the sake of doing so but rather the riffs are just technically complicated to play through. This is aided by the dexterous drum-patterns and rather stark bass-lines present through the album, but the main focus of the riffing here is that it’s speedy, barn-burner paced songs that are played in a nod to the old-school fore-bearers of the genre that just so happen to have a complexity to them that comes off as a far better assault than expected from such a young band. This extends beyond just the main riffs but also to the showcase solo sections where the music takes on progressive style levels of technicality through the churning, explosive-laden leads that bristle through the raging tempos so there’s an even greater skill-set demonstrated in the music that fully enhances the different technically-complex thrash on display. The fact that the rest of the music fits into the thrashing style quite well, as that ever-present drumming style that fits into the old-school thrash sound is present here and it absolutely kills with a set of raging, killer fills, dynamic blasting patterns and ever-complex technical rolls to make this an absolutely insane ride throughout with rather quick and insane displays of skill wrapped up in the blasts throughout the music. As well, the thumping bass-lines displays a sense of technicality as well but mainly augments and thickens the sound which gives it even more of an old-school feel. Beyond this, there’s the rather fun element which makes the album even more of an old-school effort with the ability to mix in extended intros and interludes to many of the songs which helps that feeling with the strong influences from their past showing up in the riffing patterns and structures throughout that keeps this one all the more retro-sounding before blasting through a barreling masterpiece of thrash.

There’s some rather fun stuff throughout the album that gets displayed here. One of the best elements is the rather formulaic songwriting that crops up here, which in a sense could serve as a flaw since there’s not a whole lot of formula deviation going on but it seems that the majority of the songs go through the blasting and thumping main rhythms only to get a strong gang-backing vocal chorus before launching into the solo sections and then blasting back out for the final half. This is pretty much repeated throughout the album and rarely gets a chance to change much throughout here except in terms of how the riffs are layered or the tempo it goes through, but the fact that the music tends to be so similarly structured could go either way for listeners. Some might like the fact that the album is quite similar and ends up getting into it because all the songs absolutely slay without too much clunkers or filler tracks filling up the track-list, while others might find the repeated formula evident of their newcomer status and serve as a potential area to fix in the future. This is seemingly the main flaw here and really could serve as a positive for the music as well if that’s the way it’s treated at select times. However, that all goes out the window when listening to the sparkling production on this one. The absolutely infectious tone that they play in is such an added bonus that there’s numerous songs that benefit solely from the production job that’s given here as the music strikingly warm and familiar, never losing sight of where it came from but still distinct enough not to sound like a carbon-copy of that style is such a refreshing and entertaining aspect of the album as well. The one part to this that really makes the album even more fun and enjoyable is the absolute inherence of keeping the music as intense and upbeat as possible, never allowing for a true dip in quality from one half to another and just seemingly intent on thrashing away with utter abandon on all the tracks and never giving away the fact that the album is supposed to get weaker as time goes on but rather utilizing the energy present in their attack to fuel the intense and technical tempos throughout here and never dipping in quality either as many of their tracks on the last half are exactly the same as the first half, which is where this scores so well in keeping this a coherent, consistent effort.

As mentioned, there’s not a whole lot to differentiate the tracks on here as it all tends to bleed together so well. Intro ‘Thrash Eternal’ is precisely what you’re going to get here, with thrashing energy utilizing frantic rhythms and technically-complex patterns to deliver a blistering barnburner of a track to start things off with. ‘Let Me Die’ is remarkably similar if not going as overboard on the soloing that lengthened the previous track but still delivering on the same elements that make that one a blistering rager, a tactic repeated in ‘Corrupted Masses’ to a tee. The title track brings in more progressive elements with its lengthy solo sections and frantic patterns off-set with one of the better old-school intros on the album, making this one of the better efforts on a truly stand-out effort. ‘The Threat From Within’ is a true technical thrasher with plenty of complex riff-work and pounding drumming, and that carries forth into the tracks on the second half with both ‘Rebellion’ and ‘Becoming the Alpha’ utilizing extensive thrashing sections fueled by complicated arrangements and ferocious energy throughout with nary a let-up in terms of speed or intensity. The extended intro again pops up in ‘The Age of Debt Slaves’ to serve as a true blistering blast of technical thrash with complex rhythms and some of the most intense drumming on the album as a whole, making this one more stand-out effort as well. The one time it allows a drop in tempo, ‘Skullcrushery’ whips up some utterly frenetic melodies and truly groovy rhythms within their furious run-through that allows for plenty of complex rhythms and even more dynamic patterns to emerge, sending this off on a great ride with a tight, ferocious track on an album full of such material.

While this may not serve everyone’s tastes for the genre, with their formulaic approach to the material tending to be the biggest factor against the band here, the fact that this is such a dynamic and engaging record for a band this new is an astonishing mark and really generates a lot of positive marks. It’s aggressive and intense when it needs to be, drops in some melodic content at the appropriate times to augment the aggressive side and really shows their influences in full effect without seemingly being a carbon-copy of such forces to start with, and in the end this serves as a serious blast in the genre and could very well be the launching point for their ascension in the future. This is a band that needs to be watched closely.