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The Sound of Silence with the Noisy Thrash Timbre - 82%

bayern, July 15th, 2017

These guys were actually one of the pioneers of the Swedish thrash metal scene having started their journey in the distant 1986 under the name Atrocity, leaving a trail of several demos through the late-80’s, the content pretty acceptable energetic speed/thrash along the lines of the German school at the time. It’s the year 1989 now and the guys parade under a different moniker, Rosicrucian. Under this new guise they finally manage to board the train to the official release destination, and the album reviewed here is a vociferous nod to the very roots of thrash, the way it used to be played some few years back.

The delivery has shifted towards the more technical side of the Bay-Area, think Metallica, Testament, Defiance, Forbidden, the main difference coming from the not very suitable, and plain annoying at times, death metal vocals courtesy of Ulf Peterson who has arrived from the fellow thrashers Mezzrow. Music-wise the guys hit the top, though, and the old school fans will have one of their last delights served here before the genre’s demise. “Column of Grey” is an awesome way to start the saga with stylish sprightly technical guitars and even more interesting acoustic, flamenco motifs. The opener’s livelier nature gets a more officiant, mid-tempo aura on “The Way of All Flesh” the frequent tempo shifts coming as a more intricate version of Metallica’s “Leper Messiah”. “Within the Silence” tries to justify its title with a quiet, serene intro, but it’s business as usual later especially with the addition of a slab of great virtuoso leads in the vein of Alex Scholnick. “Esoteric Traditions” excels in the lead department as well, but expect more headbanging thrash alongside the next in line tranquil balladisms. “Autocratic Faith” relies on pounding heavy riffage which still contains enough technical surprises to satisfy fans of both “Master of Puppets” and “And Justice for All…”.

“Nothing but Something Remains” starts with some dubious techno-beats, but not to worry as the band take care of any more or less desirable deviations later, including a short balladic break, with aggressive cutting thrash turning this number into the definitive headbanger in the midst of the groovy/aggro/alternative craze. “Aren’t You Bored Enough” is a more linear mid-paced thrasher, something that could have been taken from Testament’s “Souls of Black”, for instance; and “Back in the Habit” notches up the aggression the assault nearly reaching death metal proportions, the balladic pacifiers provided timely, this particular meditative tool turning into a staple one for the band. “Do You Know Who You’re Crucifying” thrashes with all the passion the guys can muster at the end, the obligatory more serene passage served again to consolidate its legitimate status as a metal diversifier.

With the majority of Swedish thrash metal acts (Hexenhaus, Midas Touch, Mezzrow, etc.) having either retired or moved to other pastures under different guises, it was up to the Rosicrucians to keep the old school flame alive during the 90’s, and the guys didn’t disappoint with their sophomore which was nearly “a cause for celebration” following a path very close to the one on the debut, maybe coming with a drier, more sterile guitar sound, the only unmitigated nod to the vogues at the time. Having decided that they had done their duty to the classic metal arena with two wholesome opuses, the band appeared barely a year later under a different name, Slapdash, and with a style that was even more faithful to the groovy/alternative/post-thrashy fashions than Pantera’s own “Far Beyond Driven” released a bit earlier. This formation only danced for a couple of years, long enough to produce one EP and a full-length in quick succession before wrapping it on; a careless, hasty decision which only showed that the mid-90’s was no place for arcane Rosicrucian beliefs regardless of the form in which they were presented. Deep underground is where such knowledge should be kept, and this is where one should be looking for those wayward Scandinavian minstrels.

Decent thrash - 71%

3415, January 31st, 2005

A good thrash album, if you can bear the not-so-great vocals. Rosicrucian were one of those bands that were a bit anonymous, but nevertheless had their moments.

This album is actually a rather enjoyable one, the technical thrash found here manages to stay interesting throughout. Sound effects and strange intros, as well as the occasional insane outbursts of calypso beats, cows and screaming babies ensures that you stay on your toes. The production is decent but no more, retaining a rough charm to the record. It´s not particularly innovative in any sense, but it seems like they enjoy what they´re doing, and hey, they do know how to write some great thrashers every now and then.

Top marks go to “The way of all flesh” and “Within the silence” as far as songs go, and of course to the anonymous cow. Thrash albums like these aren´t made anymore, and you could certainly do worse than this.