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Sorrow and Doom Imbued with Energy - 80%

bayern, February 21st, 2018

Like their compatriots Cry of Terror (both acts sharing a guitarist, Wouter Maarse, at the beginning), these stalwarts hail from the hardcore/punk school of thought before switching to the more fashionable thrash metal sound on this mini-LP. What we have here is six tracks closing on a bit over 20-min, presenting our friends as aggressive vicious shredders producing fierce vitriolic stuff not far from early Necrodeath and the mentioned Cry of Terror, plus another Dutch outfit, Usurper.

This slab of unadulterated headbanging fury begins with the longest track, “Monastery of Malice” which provides 5.5-min of no-bars-held fast-paced thrash with slight semi-technical licks, the fiesta interrupted at times by more patiently woven slower passages. The hellish screechy vocals border on black metal spite, but the music has no such fascinations the guys moshing with passion on “Fast but Not First”, a short Slayer-esque burster with an imposing stomping bash. “Electric Death” would surprise everyone with an alluring lead-driven, balladic etude before a fountain of speedy lashing guitars fill in the space recalling Kreator’s “Pleasure to Kill” and Necrodeath’s “Into the Macabre”. More introductory niceties at the start of “Master of Prayer” which shows no remorse later although more style is exhibited here, with more stylish riff-patterns and bigger pace variation that becomes one big headbanging melee at the end with the short, more immediate “Just for the Kick” and “Cry of the Child“, both cuts still finding time to present the lead guitar player as a very capable performer with brief dazzling pyrotechnics.

A short intense recording that got the message through in a very concise, direct manner for most of the time, with the more proficient ways of expression detected here and there nicely adding to the typical late-80’s flavour when either playing more aggressively with a nod to the shaping death metal, or shredding with more intricacy to match the more demanding, technical/progressive side of the metal circuit, became the two most logical trajectories for a practitioner to follow at the time. However, in the case here we have neither of these paths selected; the intensity is all over here, but it never leaves the thrash confines, and there are very slight hints at more complex execution. In other words, the good old, bashing thrash received another lively “injection” at the end of the decade, making it stronger before the coming “battle” with the new music vogues.

The guys got lost from sight for whole ten years before resurfacing with “Personal Path”, the album title not really reflecting any more individualistic developments, cool dynamic retro thrash with more or less overt hardcore tendencies the latter dramatically increased for the third instalment which had few ties to the band’s past exploits, instigating a return to the roots, a decision also strengthened by the “Remains” EP. A new full-length is out, but I haven’t had any chances to give it a listen yet; the title (“Death Machines”) bodes extremity unheard of on the guys’ repertoire… there may not be too much room for sorrow and doom, and even hardcore, if death would lead the way…