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Braindead By Name Only - 89%

Larry6990, April 5th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Nuclear Blast (Slipcase)

It feels just like the 80s again - when a thrash metal band is not limited by the somehow-established 'two year gap' between albums. Less than a year after their manic output "Terror Hungry", Finnish speedsters Lost Society have hit back, and hit hard, with another full-length entitled "Braindead" - which may prove to be something of a game-changer.

It seemed to be something of a fashion trend back in 1993/4 for thrash bands to tilt in a more groove-based direction. Perhaps Lost Society are deciding to bring back that trend here in 2016, because "Braindead" is a considerably more measured affair than its frantic 2015 counterpart. It's not being subdued either, the band hit hard and proud with the groove right from the get-go. "I Am The Antidote" is a head-nodding chug-a-thon which crawls out of the speakers full of menace, complete with eerie dual lead guitars. Remember "The Box", the opening track from Annihilator's 1994 opus "King of the Kill"? Bears a strong resemblance! Zero offence intended - this opening track is addictive and fierce.

The thrash element is being seriously restrained, as even the second track, "Riot", piles on more and more layers of skull-crushingly heavy groove. In all seriousness, the riff at the 19-second mark is one of the greatest riffs of the year so far. We, the listeners, aren't exposed to any true rapid-fire thrash attacks until one minute into track 3, "Mad Torture". Any thrash metal elitist would have grown impatient by this point, which is truly a shame. Actually, that's not strictly true. Any thrash metal elitist wouldn't have bothered listening to this band in the first place - having already written them off as 'nu-thrash posers' or some shit. Well Lost Society are true thrash metal embracing the spirit of the 21st century; something that vocalist Samy Elbanna sounds truly convinced of...

Samy's frenetic vocal abilities were the absolute highlight of "Terror Hungry", and although there are far less onomatopoeic accentuations on this album, he still sounds just as gloriously maniacal as ever! He seems to be employing the higher-pitched side of his voice, giving him a tone reminiscent of 'serial axeman on rampage' rather than his previous 'drunk axeman on rampage'. This ties in quite nicely with the lyrical themes of "Braindead" - which have certainly smartened themselves (as far as thrash will allow, anyway!). This LP contains 80% less alcohol and 80% more gore and psychology! It's like Municipal Waste had suddenly been replaced by early Annihilator. "Hangover Activator" is the beer-laden exception here of course, proving that the band hasn't lost their sense of fun, despite the vicious approach of tracks like "Hollow Eyes".

Lost Society are quite adept at long song structures - having utilised many for tracks such as "Overdosed Brain" and "Tyrant Takeover". However, they appear to have hit a creative pinnacle with the 8-minute "Only My Death Is Certain". Steadily crescendoing with dissonant acoustics straight out of Heathen's catalogue, it gradually swells into a mid-tempo stomper full of interesting layers, eerie leads and majorly contrasting sections. Truly impressive stuff for a band who are too easily disparaged in the eyes of many.

Despite only being 7 tracks long - "Braindead" takes the listener on quite a dynamically varied journey for a thrash metal album. It's nice to see the Finns taking some risks and delving into realms not previously explored for years. Highly recommended for open-minded thrashers looking for something different to the next Slayer-clone. Also, if you get the chance to catch these guys live - do it! Their recent tour with Exodus proved how much of a vibrant, youthful, energetic force they are. Promising and exciting stuff ahead for the Scandinavian thrash metal scene...not something I thought I'd ever say!

"Pound your drinks and scream with me!
This is the new society!!"