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SSR > Symphonic Aggression > Reviews
SSR - Symphonic Aggression

An Escape to the Holy Forest Was Granted - 89%

bayern, August 5th, 2022

Houston Houston, Texas Texas… haven’t been there, but I should go. Hopefully on a space rocket, and straight to the NASA space centre there first. Oops, no; my first place of pilgrimage there should be the USSR museum… sorry again, the SSR museum… I doubt if there’ll be too many former Soviet Union worshippers over there.

Yep, the museum sheltering the exploits of these lads here, cause there must be one there, in their hometown. I mean, you can’t possibly bypass this exquisite classic progressive power/thrash that they had cooked on this, their only legacy to the world. For a good reference point think early Fates Warning (minus the debut) and Sanctuary, only with a more insistent thrash engine running underneath. There are also a few mellower epic touches (“The Island”), but when the latter are wrapped in a more complex thrashy aura, like on the excellent dramatic “Kings & Fools”, things come very near the top. The very top gets reached, eventually, with the superb “Considering the Shadows”, a multi-layered prog-thrash odyssey which races fervently with the best from the repertoires of Realm and Toxik, the headbangers also fully satisfied thanks to a couple of more intense sections. “Final Book”, which is not the last song, is a less busy, more orthodox mid-pacer, leaving the whole gathering of intricacy and complexity for “Gathering”, a lofty progressive thrash amalgam which exhibits both passion for moshing with little restraint and for soaring melodic pirouettes, the several dense tightly knotted rifforamas dancing around those incessantly, creating a head-scratching mathematical vortex.

The vocalist is a true find, too, his emotional high-pitched histrionics just a half octave away from falling into the helium-induced traps formed by early Warrel Dane (R.I.P.), the man obviously determined to be considered a prominent presence all over. Absolutely, no complaints there at all, the slightly sloppy sound quality betraying the underground status of this really fine recording, which is not exactly a symphony; and is not exactly aggressive, but otherwise has everything a metal fan should want in order to spend a meaningful near-half hour under his favourite progressive power/thrashy tunes.

Shortly after the guys both planted a Forest and built a Fortress, both very short-lived stints, the Forest one producing one demo as well a year later, equally spell-binding, quite close in style to the one reviewed here, with an even more abstract and entangled layout. The Fortress spell managed to reach the official release stage with “Horrors of Paradise” in 1991, but without the SSR member who had left by the time of the album’s emergence; streamlined not as exciting retro thrash it contained, which couldn’t quite light, let alone hold, a candle to the dense, already full-grown at the time forest. A forest that was left without maintenance soon after, but one that still welcomes classic thrash pilgrims from all corners of the galaxy… there’s even a plan for the construction of a space rocket parking lot next to it… with NASA subsidy.