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Not Exactly the Thrash Gangsta’s Paradise - 58%

bayern, October 8th, 2019

One would be quite surprised to find out that Belgium developed a sizeable thrash pool (Evil Sinner, Black Shepherd, Asphyxia, Dead Serious, Sixty Nine, etc.) in the late-80’s, most of these practitioners just one-album stints including the band under scrutiny here, all of them trying to somehow capitalize on the venerable, also sizeable heritage left by their mighty compatriots Acid. There wasn’t much greatness exuded from those recordings, truth be told, but at least all those lads tried to put their homeland on the thrash metal map back then…

although the small country’s finest retro thrash export for quite some time would remain the veterans Cyclone’s sophomore “Inferior to None”, one shouldn’t discard the contribution made from the mentioned above group which, if nothing else, sounded pretty sincere. Only if the approach hadn’t been so formulaic and trite as is the case here; this “decadent” team exercise painfully familiar Bay-Areasque thrash which major merit, even after repeated listens, are the attached Sean Killian-esque (Vio-Lence) vocals. There’s surely some energy exhibited initially with the brisk cuts "False Reeducation" and "Deadly Dreams", but the lengthy playing time of both outstays its welcome, making them somewhat plodding and repetitive towards the end; missed opportunities on both as they could have been turned into more stylish, semi-technical at least, slabs. Things work better on the shorter material (“1000 Degrees Below Zero”), but bumping into the one-dimensional clumsy mid-pacer “Mayhemic Destiny” may be wound-inducing for the headbangers who won’t be very amused on the unfocused “speed meets ballads” oddity that is the title-track.

This is done so much by-the-book that in order to sit through its entirety one has to ask him/herself what exactly he/she wants to get from such an album, provided that he/she has most likely come across the exactly same delivery hundreds of times before. Back in 1989 it must have had a bigger impact, largely in Belgium, with the Bay-Area influence not that prominent in Europe, but for the avid classic thrash collector this can only have a very elusive nostalgic value.

The band regrouped quickly a few years later, and founded the thrash/crossover act Trouble Agency, a better and a longer-lasting, still operational as well, enterprise… the thrash gangsters over there may have eventually found a fitting soundtrack for their nefarious activities.