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Ready, Steady, Goat! - 81%

Larry6990, December 4th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Prosthetic Records

It's refreshing to see so many metal acts who specialize in being fun release material towards the end of this hellish year. Irish thrashers Gama Bomb join the (disappointingly low) ranks of playful, quirky metal bands to deliver their 7th full-length album just in time to make it onto year-end lists. As one of the OG acts of the new wave of thrash metal, these nutters have built up a loyal fanbase over the years and have more than proved their staying power thanks to cracking past achievements like Citizen Brain (which I admit to being my favourite GB album). Their first for Prosthetic Records, Sea Savage sees the quartet sticking to their guns and providing the next logical step up from 2018's Speed Between The Lines.

Instantly notable is the squeaky clean production quality. The mix is so tight and precise, making this record a pleasure to squeeze into your earholes. Every lightning-fast strum is audible; good job too, because both Domo and John provide oodles of super-speedy downpicking which deserves to be highlighted by a decent mix. The guitars are definitely front and centre, making sure their brand of chromatic riffs and frenetic solos get the spotlight. Also at the forefront is their trademark humour and plethora of pop culture references, without which I wouldn't be half as drawn to them. With track titles like "Ready, Steady, Goat!" and "She's Not My Mother, Todd" - you know you're in for a rollickin' good time. Even the first track, which I find to be oddly subdued for an album opener, is playfully named "Judo Killer". Catchy chorus, but probably should've switched places with the title-track for a truly thrashworthy intro to the record.

Similarly, the closing number, "Gone Haywire", is a little de-energized when compared to its predecessor "Electric Pentacle" - which definitely has the right vibe to close the record. One of the heaviest on the menu. The title-track, too, is up there with the best of this LP. Due, in no small part, to the back-up gang vocals in the chorus ('OVER THE SIIIIIIDE!!'). Gama Bomb nail this classic thrash metal trait all throughout Sea Savage. The 'whoooa's in the opening track; the 'down! down! down!' in "Miami Supercops" which cap off the catchiest chorus on the LP; and the thuggish shouts which carry "Electric Pentacle" and suit the vicious riff-set so well. Can't get enough of backing vocals in my thrash. Just listen to this album once and tell me you don't find yourself shouting 'LORDS OF THE HELLIRE CLUB!' every once in a while. You're lying.

Alongside the brutish accompanying yells is Philly Byrne's recognizable charismatic vocal performance. As always, he is perfectly decipherable when delivering lines like 'Hey Janelle, fuck you, you're not my real mom!' - chock full of character. His falsetto will inevitably be a divisive element for thrash fans and, admittedly, even I find it a little piercing at times. However, he utterly slays on the brilliant "Rusty Jaw" - leaping octaves with athletic aplomb - easily my favourite cut on the disc. Gama Bomb have reached a plateau of high quality, rarely dipping below 'very good' over the course of their career. Sea Savage is another more-than-worthy addition to a great discography which will have fans salivating for more, and will hopefully attract some newcomers to the Irish lunatics.

(Originally written for The Metal Observer)

Gamabombinable - 81%

Felix 1666, December 4th, 2020

How many bands can use the line “what shall we do with the drunken sailor?” without being immediately banned for all eternity. Maybe Alestorm (but their music doesn’t work), Running Wild (but their music also causes instant tiredness) and, yes, Gama Bomb! The kings of hyper-fast, tongue-in-cheek thrash metal are back with a – lo and behold – pelagic album. I admit I had to stumble over Mother Earth for more than 52 years until I heard / read the word “pelagic” for the first time. Miserable fate of a landlubber! Yet now I am familiar with this linguistic jewel, thanks to the promo of “Sea Savage”. Nevertheless, this promo left me disturbed. I mean, can anybody handle with information like this: “The pelagic tale follows the crew of the steamer ‘S.S. Gama Bomb’ as they voyage in search of a real-life Yeti, only to go slowly mad on the high seas. It also features songs about 80s and 90s movies, because Gama Bomb cannot help themselves.” Guess I am the one who goes even earlier mad than the crew.

Did I babble about hyper-fast thrash? Well, it seems as if Gama Bomb have been sitting at the beach a little bit too long and the experience of the continuous alternation of ebb and flow has made them more tolerant. Songs like the outstanding “Iron Blood” still have the pressure, vigour and tempo of their previous material, but there are also pieces that sound comparatively mild-mannered. Or is it just a question of nuances? The “woho-woho” background vocals in the pretty moderate opener do not really fit the sound that Gama Bomb have previously stand for, but they also do not characterize and ruin “Judo Killer”. Instead, the album holds another dozen of tunes that mostly fascinate with the Gama Bombian mix of juvenile nonsense and musical maturity. Of course, the music is of higher importance than any kind of joke, but Philly’s not only sporadically appearing high-pitched artistry adds a funny yet wild touch. By the way, the wild component in the music of the band nearly scores with omnipresence – and we may not forget that this is already the seventh full-length of a unit that is in business since nearly two decades. How many other formations have called it a day in such a period or – worse – have become a bunch of lame guitar-holders with sick brains that can’t remember how to write an energetic piece of power. Thank God, the unforgettable Beverly Hills Robocop or the Sea Savage, Gama Bomb are different.

The promo wants to make us believe that “Sea Savage is a very different beast from their previous albums”, but come on, that’s more or less commercially inspired gossip. Firstly, there is nothing beastly n the band’s art and secondly,“Monsterizer” and “Rusty Jaw” are typical, straight and trademark-emphasizing torpedoes that will not disappoint any friend of the formation. Almost the same goes for the hilarious “She’s Not My Mother, Todd” and “Ready, Steady, Goat” is no kowtow to Impaled Nazarene, but an excellent, riff-driven mid- to up-tempo thrasher that fires brilliant riffs and lines into the amazed horde of freshwater sailors. Maybe it is true that Gama Bomb do not deliver more of the same, but it’s still a short way from “Speed between the Lines” to the here reviewed album and ambivalent tracks like “Sheer Khan” with its comparatively traditional heavy metal parts remain an exception.

And as if this were not enough, “Sea Savage” boasts with an excellently sharp, properly transparent and absolutely non-sterile production. This means that the album with the great artwork featuring their gamabombinable mascot is at least the fifth full-length in a row which offers nothing else but high class thrash / speed metal. I don’t know why the Yeti dwells in the sea, but I also never understood why some crazy dudes say that a monster is living on the ground of Loch Ness. All in all “Sea Savage” is probably no milestone in Gama Bomb’s very strong discography, but it is still a very proper full-length. If the album would be a ship, it could be navigated across the open sea with great elegance; and if I take a look out of my porthole, I do not see many crews who manage their maritime duties in a better way.

Originally written for metalbite.com