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The quintessence of lame revivalist pseudo-thrash - 30%

Hellish_Torture, July 5th, 2014

I’ll forever be grateful to Cross Examination for the song “Thrashin’ For the Cash In (Royalty Check)”. Go read the lyrics of that song, then come back to my review. Done? Good. So you’ll get the point of what I’m gonna say now.

It’s since the beginning of the 2000s that thrash has returned to be a relevant genre in the metal scene. Many historical bands like Sodom, Destruction, Tankard, Exodus and Kreator made some great comeback albums and a new generation of thrash bands began to spawn in few time. Especially since the second half of the decade, the “neothrash” wave began to have a discrete commercial success, with acts like Municipal Waste, Warbringer, Havok, Evile, Violator, Gama Bomb and blah blah blah. And well, at this point, it’s easy to guess the negative effects of this revival.

Nuclear, a casual thrash act from Chile which I had the mischance to discover, embodies everything I could hate about a neothrash band. At the moment, they have made three full-lengths, and I have chosen the first (“Heaven Denied”) to explain what’s so bad about this band.

This album sounds like it was made by a bunch of young kids who have listened just to some Metallica, Slayer, Sodom, Kreator, Testament, Exodus and Destruction albums and they’re trying to recapture the feeling of those bands, but their extremely low knowledge about thrash limits them. The fact is that most of these guys are over 30 or around that. They’re also very competent in the technical department.

So, what’s the problem? Despite the skills of this band, “Heaven Denied” is one of the most banal and inconsistent thrash metal albums I have ever heard. I know that neothrash is, first of all, a “revival” current, so there’s nothing to invent here, but believe me, this album is really worthless even for neothrash standards. Neothrash has some awesome bands which play with passion and attitude, and are actually able to create fresh and powerful thrash riffs. All the opposite of Nuclear. It seems like they’re FORMALLY able to play their stuff, but there is no true passion behind their compositions. It sounds like a big recycle of stuff done before, played coldly and produced coldly (yes, the production is very modern and clean, but too cold for thrash metal), without any substance. The lack of soul affects negatively the final result.

It doesn’t matter if songs go mid-tempo or up-tempo: they ALWAYS sound dull and lame. Maybe, the only thing that often presents some good ideas is the solo work, often very melodic and maniacally cured, proving that these guys are very talented and COULD be an awesome band. The problem is in the riffage: believe me, a good 98% of the riffs you hear on this album, you can tell you heard them before in many other songs. Just give a listen to the title-track, when you will find some mid-paced grooves that sound too fucking similar to Annihilator’s “Nothing Left” and, then, some very poor riffs with a melody entirely copied from Destruction’s “Curse the Gods”. I’m sorry, but when I can tell each song whence they stole the riffs, we’re hitting the rock bottom. But the mid-tempo parts are the worst of all. Find me a bunch of drunk metalhead teens which aren’t able to make a mid-tempo like the one of “Dolo”. The occasional unnecessary chugs in some songs (“The Pain you Asked For”) don’t help too much. But even when the band tries to add a touch of external influences to the music (like the death/black riffage on “The Wind”), it barely works.

So, my idea about this band (but I could be wrong) is that they took part to the thrash scene just to ride the revival wave, without any other purpose, like the famous Cross Examination song describes. I’m sorry, but I cannot think about a bunch of adult guys, technically very skilled, with a TRUE passion for thrash metal, making a totally generic album like this. Is it just me? I still can’t comprehend the reason of their discrete success in the neothrash scene. This album describes perfectly the cancer that has infected thrash metal in the last decade: approximated songwriting and not enough attitude. Man, Cross Examination were fucking right.