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Very Strong Thrash Album - 95%

JK_Drake, September 17th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Independent (CDBaby)

I recently discovered this band/album by chance. At first listen I realized that there was something really good going on. I could instantly tell that their debut album is one hell of a thrash album. But I could also tell this is one of those albums that you have to give it a couple of listens to enjoy it properly as the song structures are complex and durations are long (not Vektor-long or -complex). Once you are through that, you start to appreciate the riffs, the technicality and the melodic elements that are embedded in the songs.

Sweden is not known for its thrash scene but these guys do deliver. The songs are packed with strong riffs and they are not just thrown in there one after the other randomly. They are tied well together. I really dig this album and keep listening to it because it has the vibe of classic bands such as Exodus, Kreator, Destruction, Dark Angel and Sodom. Don't get me wrong it is not a clone of old school thrash at all. It has so many different and modern elements delivered without losing the thrashy edge. Best way I can describe the songs is that each song is a journey and original in its own way. At times you can hear melodic death elements (such as the song "Visitation"), and other times you can hear sections that dive into doom zone (like "Midnight Theory" which is reminiscent of Paradise Lost - Draconian Times era). Even with those variations, these guys totally fit into the revived thrash metal scene.

Standout tracks of the album for me are "Hellbound", "Severance", "Visitation" and "Hemorrhage of the Soul" which display the musicality and the writing skills of the band while delivering classic thrash moments. The album kicks off following a heavy intro that is peppered with melodic lead work, and once the first song enters you know you are in for a ride. What a way to start off an album. Riffs, in general, are so brutal and ferocious (the tracks "Sorrow Room" and "Bloodgrown Darkness" come to mind) they grab you immediately reminding the styles of Slayer and Sodom. Damn, "Skyless" is mean, fast, and tight.

As you flow through the songs, you know that the rhythms must be heavy on the wrists of the guitarists. Once you start listening to the album you get this immediate feeling of headbanging but you also start to wonder what the vocals are going to be like. I have heard so many albums that had so much potential but were ruined by vocals. Well, that's not the case here. Vocals are totally ripping and don't disappoint. Songs, overall, have moments of pure speed and mayhem that won't let you go, but at times they introduce massive breakdown sections that can hit like a 1,000 ton truck. There are also acoustic parts with emotional solos. Guitar solos and lead work are original and fit well. At times you can hear ripping solos Exodus-style and at other times you might encounter melodies similar to those of Blind Guardian. Drums are very strong and well produced. And again, most of the time they are really fast.

Another point is that there are many albums out there that have killer openers but then they fade and become monotonous, boring or repetitive. Luckily that is not the case here. There are no fillers or disappointments. There are many riffs, but they are not used just for the sake of it, they are catchy. "Visitation" is a great example of incredible riff-writing (a monster of a song) and the ending riff of "Severance" could easily be one of the coolest riffs I heard in a while. There are non-conventional heavier songs too. One interesting thing is that two songs have sections that include dreamy chants which is strange for thrash metal but the way they are done doesn't feel strange at all and fits the atmosphere pretty good.

I think this album is a really solid and original attempt, showing what these guys can do and I am surprised how more people have not heard about it. It puts a massive exclamation from beginning to the end. The negatives I can tell about the album is that it might take some time to get into it, so it is not for the impatient who wants three-minute songs with two-riffs. As for the production, it could have been a notch better but it is still very crisp, clear and punchy.

Overall, if you give "Skyless" a chance, you will see that it is a very strong addition and a fresh ignition to the scene.