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One-Way Ticket to the Death - 77%

bayern, February 20th, 2019

Yeah, the Polish veterans have tried quite a few styles along the way… they almost upgraded their repertoire to full-fledged death metal on the album reviewed here. Almost cause the call from their thrash hearts was still strong, and it overwrote a couple of more brutal attempts thus loosely keeping the recording within the thrash metal confines. And cheers to that, with whatever brand of Polish vodka you have available in the house…

the guys were following on their “Dead End” opus released two years prior, a stylish thrash/death affair which came as a logical step on the way to bigger brutalization the band looking to pepper their thrash formula with more aggressive deathy outbursts; a successful upgrade that also saw them leaving the more technical clout of the excellent “Epidemie” a bit behind. No technical ados under any form on this effort here, this is bashing hammering stuff to the death, but again not exactly with a capital -D-. One slight digression up front: although the tracklist here includes the song “Refuse to Live”, I haven’t been able to find this cut on any version of the album here circulating around the Net; it can be found with just seven tracks, this supposed fifth number is missing. The only place this song can be found is on the “Anthology 1980-2008” compilation released in 2008. It may have been intentionally removed by the band as it’s a strangely minimalistic mid-pacer, nothing like the hyper-active skirmishes featured on the other material.

With this detail out of the way, I dive into this remorseless barrage once again with “End User” alone violent enough to shatter my senses beyond repair, with the most abrupt beginning around, the guys spitting bile and venom with no restraint. The shouty semi-deathy vocals from the preceding effort have been preserved the guy rending his vocal cords more perhaps this time, recalling Max Cavalera. Mentioning Sepultura, the overall delivery is not very far from the one on “Beneath the Remains”, only that the guitars here come with a not very obtrusive, but audible hissing reverberation that becomes more noticeable on the few slower moments (“Reagression”). The lead guitarist continues to be the star of the show his involvement quite prominent although the simplistic delivery this time doesn’t quite need his contrived pirouettes. And indeed, this unrestrained barrage doesn’t really need any further embellishments as the guys’ agenda is to pummel you into oblivion, the cream of the cake being the Napalm Death cover of “Scum”… kidding here, this piece is one of the very few moments where more laid-back choppy walkabouts can be encountered, the band obviously not willing to drive their old fanbase very far away.

By no means superior to any of the albums released before it, this offering was just a way for the guys to vent their anger and possible frustration from… I don’t know what. It’s true that death metal was gaining popularity in Poland at the time, but it was kind of hard for one to see the pioneers readily jumping this wagon. It didn’t suit them somewhat, this brutal transformation… well, they almost achieved it on the album here but it seemed as though they wanted to keep a certain border between the already acquired earlier thrash/death hybrid status and the full-on death metal assault the latter running rampant on Polish soil thanks to their colleagues Dragon and Vader. Would the veterans vote to join them on a full-time basis, though, with the next instalment?

No, they wouldn’t; in fact, they wouldn’t join any existing at the time trend as they split up shortly after this opus got released. Compilations containing their older material kept coming afterwards, all the way to the reformation stint in 2001 which surprisingly saw them embracing their heavy metal roots. It wasn’t a downright return to those roots, mind you; the approach possesses some of the aggro-vibe from the past decade alongside casual more aggressive thrashy escapades; in other words, the band haven’t been playing by-the-book since the start of the new millennium, and both the old and the new audience can easily find something to like on these four more recent affairs unleashed so far. The thrash and the death metal fanbase? Well, those fractions have been neglected, unfortunately; the ticket office only sells return packages from Thrash/Deathland at this stage…