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A black/speed classic! - 90%

Pratl1971, November 24th, 2009

Try to imagine a band that sounds as if they stepped right out of 1980s black/thrash oblivion. Now try to add to that the fact that they don't sound dated or typical (at least not by the current standard) and you've got Gumo Maniacs, a speed/trash/black metal band from the bowels of Germany.

The obvious comparisons to Slayer, Death SS and Hobbs' Angel of Death aside, Gumo Maniacs is a truly inspired trio that took pages directly from the book of Hell-spawn metal music and captured that raw, hellish 80s sound that I have missed so severely. The CD is called "Priest of Lucifer," which seems to carry with it a typical rolling of the eyes since every damn band on earth seems to be possessed by the Norwegian black metal sound (and doing it badly I might add - the originals are the true pioneers of that sound, leave it alone!). As I said, this CD has the early speedy Slayer elements mixed with some of the more obscure bands from the 80s like Massacre, Possessed, early Death Angel, Sodom, Kreator and a host of other worthy bands. While the band has speed elements that are undeniable, they also have a good old-school groove to certain tracks that changes up the tempo nicely when you least expect it. It's easy to see where these guys get their inspiration, and it's quite the book of merit to gather from, that's for sure. Some bands, like the mighty Venom, get the concept and work with what limited resources they have or had to create something magical that stands the test of time. Gumo Maniacs combined elements of the best of the best and created...this!

The album is a relentless assault on virgin and harlot ears, giving newbies a real look at the wonderful metal world we had long before rap-rock and "power" metal with the silly Hammerfall-esque sound tainted our history with watered-down sap passing off as real heavy metal. There is no reinvention of the wheel here, but the songs are catchy, the riffs are solid and focused and the vocals are legible, something severely lacking in the post-Mayhem black metal realm. On top of that, the production is clean and precise, retaining just a hint of the old-school feel while applying some of the finer points of modern-day mixing. Song titles include "Invert the Cross," "Kill Again Tonight," "Ashes to Ashes," "Priest of Lucifer," and "Thor." I highly recommend this CD to anyone with a true understanding and interest in the history of speed and black metal music that has absolutely nothing to do with Norway's 15th century churches being burned or band members killing each other for monies owed or power. This is as in-your-face heavy metal as it gets.

Vile thrashing lunacy. - 84%

hells_unicorn, February 19th, 2009

Gumomaniacs is the project of vocalist/guitarist Daniel Reiß (aka Frontgoat), slightly better known for his work with the obscure, punk infused, German blackened thrash outfit Thorgos. The character of what he brings to the table with this band is different from the latter only in that a greater emphasis has been placed on the 80s thrash influences from both Germany and America in his other band, while the black metal influences have mostly been downplayed and consist of a few references to members of the 1st wave exclusively. Although set in a style that has been in existence for more than 20 years, “Priest Of Lucifer” has a lot to offer as a collection of filthy, wretched, and high octane thrashing goodness for anyone who particularly like the genre’s early years from 1982-85.

This past conscious approach to metal music is frowned upon in many quarters, mostly from the argument that it offers nothing new to the table. While stylistically this album listens like a retrospective of early incarnations of pure evil that splits equally between Destruction and Slayer, with a helping of Celtic Frost and a few various bands who predated the thrash genre, it offers a unique view of the genre from the point of view of one predisposed to the less visible representatives of the genre. When combined together, it pays homage to nearly every band that preceded and influenced the death and black metal genres, as well as a pretty healthy dose of riff happy goodness that tells all of these originality Nazis to shut up the fuck up and bang their heads.

The riff work here definitely fits right in with the glory days of the genre that stretched from 1985 and 86, avoiding the excessiveness of the bay area scene from 87-89, yet still chock full of interesting ideas that listens like Jeff Hanneman structurally, yet the overall character is a unique hybrid of Mike Sifringer and Dave Mustaine. The latter can be heard pretty strongly on the creepy upper mid-tempo “Graveyard Fantasies”, sort of like an ultra-evil variation on what Mustaine put together on “Jump In The Fire”, occasionally tweaked with some creepy atmospheric work heard off of Sodom’s early black metal work, or perhaps even a little bit similar to “A Blaze In The Northern Sky” at times given the heavy vocal reverb and keyboard vocalizations. The former influence is heavily heard on the “Priest Of Lucifer” and also on “Kill Again Tonight”, both listening like a highly organized mix of “Show No Mercy” and “Infernal Overkill”, the latter also carrying some similarities at times to later works by Exciter.

Interestingly enough, though the album is consistently too riff happy and vocally tonal to qualify as black metal even by early Venom standards, some of the songs on here cross over from the most extreme of upper tempo Slayer and combined with the somewhat blackened atmosphere of the production, flirt with Mayhem territory in some respects. Songs like “My Satanic Rites”, “Invert The Cross” and “Ashes To Ashes” blaze away at black speed, with drum beats comparable to “Reign In Blood” intensity, riffs that scream “Eternal Devastation”, and a vocal performance out of Frontgoat that sounds like a perfect marriage of the wicked wails heard on both albums. Somewhere between all of these purely extreme thrash influences, there is this sort of dark, atmospheric quality not found in either that shows the front man’s inclinations towards the blackened aspects of the genre. It’s difficult to put into words, but there something in the production quality of what is heard on here that separates it from both the percussive quality of most 80s thrash, as well as the low-fidelity recordings of the early 90s 2nd wave of black metal, and also the horridly overproduced modern thrash sound.

This is definitely something to look into if you liked the material heard out of the Teutonic scene. It could almost be seen as an attempt at reviving the style with a somewhat modified format, as opposed to an all out blackened revamping of the style as was heard on Immortal’s later albums. It’s basically pure thrash with a few interesting twists, wearing its influences clear on its own shirt sleeve, yet avoiding turning into some sort of quasi-tribute band that writes original material. It’s devoid of any sense of modernism, it shreds out some solid leads Kerry King style, it’s grim and vile right down to the core, and it stands as one of the better releases to come out of the genre in 2008.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on February 20, 2009.