Back in April, we ran a very abbreviated review of this album. However, given its prominence--and the prominence of the legacy act in question--it feels deserving of a full writeup. Enjoy! - Ed.
Written by: Beaston Lane
Testament has dealt with many ups and downs throughout the course of their 30-plus year career, but their 13th release continues a hot streak that began with 2008’s comeback record, The Formation of Damnation. Once again, the band showcases their mastery of all things thrash metal, exploring their usual mystical, mythological, and dystopian themes. Longtime fans of Testament will find much to enjoy on this record, but it certainly won’t extend an olive branch to those on the fence.
Regarded as one of the finest thrash metal bands since their 1987 debut, The Legacy, Testament’s exceptional career eventually hit an impasse. After 1992’s The Ritual, the band descended into turmoil, with constantly changing personnel on the three following albums and palpable stylistic shifts. In 2001, Chuck Billy was diagnosed with cancer, effectively putting the band on hiatus until his recovery. Since Testament’s original lineup reunited in 2005, they have joined the ranks of Overkill as one of the most consistent bands in thrash metal, putting out solid records about every four years since 2008. That pattern doesn’t falter in 2020.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Chemicide are an interesting bunch of Costa Rican thrashers. They grew on me a lot because I thought their first album Episodes Of Insanity was incredibly boring and generic. But as they progressed, they got better. Inequality is their third effort, which dropped last year, and I see this as the band finding their sound. They capitalized on blending this aggressive attitude on world injustices and corruption, which made for an awesome outcome.
Part of this growth was figuring out how to utilize repetition for stronger bridges and setting the mood. “Conditioned Liberty” utilizes this with looping solos, pressing harder kicks and lashes to follow that. On the smoother side of things, we also get songs like “Altered Reality” that drive the repetitive licks into a rhythm-dense tune. That then allows room for more vocal clarity, which has such a nasty snarl. This song in particular has a rather steady backbone, so it’s a neat contrast.
Written by: The Administrator
While there are undoubtedly a few proverbial bats in our belfry, the Sleeping Village doesn’t have a bat-signal...per se. What we do have, however, is a decrepit husk of a bellringer who lives at the top of our (similarly decrepit) tower. When said warden of the bells yearns for the sweet strains of raw blackened fury--something to drown out the ol' incessant ringing--he lights his brightest lantern and waits, earnestly, in hope that someone will heed his call. Luckily for him, Wisconsin's own paragon of the New Wave of US Black Metal was waiting in the wings.
That's right, folks: Vredensdal is back--after a very short break, no less. The Tyrant Shade is here. No rest for the wicked, as they say.
Written by: The Administrator
Riddle me this: does anyone with a love of thrash and/or speed metal really require any sort of ulterior recommendation in order to take a new thrash and/or speed release out for a quick spin? It's a genre that plays fast 'n' loose by definition, so take our stuffy two cents on this split with a grain of salt.
Intro adequately dispensed with, let's dive right into that oh-so-sweet Speed Armageddon. Are ye familiar with Wraith and Bastardizer? If no, you probably should be. Wraith, for one, took my personal 2019 Albums of the Year list by storm with their stellar sophomoric Absolute Power. Said album was (and is) an absolute barn-burner of an effort, characterized by a pedal-to-the-metal approach to wild riffage and wilder vocals. In our review, I stated that "I went into Absolute Power expecting an absolute ripper, and that's exactly what I got." Hold that thought for later, cuz' spoiler: I feel the same exact way in regards to this split. Bastardizer is an outfit I have admittedly less experience with, although a dive into their discography has resulted in some sustained headbanging 'round these parts. These Aussies traditionally lean a little more into the thrash 'n' roll side of the spectrum--rollicking and high-octane momentum abounds, with gritty aggression that's a little more Midnight and a little less Deathhammer. Bottom line is that both acts are choice cuts in the speed/thrash arena, and this 15 minute collaboration is but another feather in their respective caps.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Bursting out of Belgium comes Evil Invaders, one of those bands that teeters the lines of thrash and speed metal that took form a little over a decade ago. Their latest album Feed Me Violence dropped back in 2017, and has since ended up being a total grower of a record. I say that because it starts out sounding like your typical speed metal that tries to rip-off Painkiller riffs with dashes of Overkill-isms. Before too long, they prove themselves otherwise.
The speedier tracks aren’t bad by any stretch. Although the album bounces back and forth between these songs and the more intriguing crawlers, this style is let on little by little as the disc progresses. “Oblivion” intertwines the two by injecting an epic crawl that rolls into one of the fastest tunes, showcasing their speed side the greatest heights. Others like the title track are solid enough, but this isn’t where I think the band shines the brightest.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Canada has been on a tear with its metal releases so far this year. Alberta specifically has been a hotbed for heavy lately. Whether you want genre bending devastation of the stunning Wake Devouring Ruin release, or some mind numbingly heavy stoner doom in Highbernation's Comatokes, chances are you can find something to scratch that itch in-province.
Now you might be saying, “I'm actually in the mood for some trad-heavy, maybe some NWOBHM speed stuff.” If so, gather ‘round weary reader, for the local village Journeyman has the release for you. Termination Shock, recently released through Gates of Hell Records, is the second full-length from Calgary speed rockers Traveler.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
I have to be brutally honest, I'm not the world's biggest thrash metal fan. There was a time from ages 8-14 where I was absolutely obsessed with thrash--I refused to listen to anything else, and I eventually burned myself out. That's not to say that I don't enjoy thrash and still look for new bands, but there are other genres I tend to listen to more.
And that leads us to Warbringer. They are the exception. Warbringer is easily my favorite "new" thrash band, and I'd go as far as to say that they are the best modern thrash band around. Their last album Woe to the Vanquished was a career highlight and saw the band even sharper than ever with a razorblade to the throat of their thrash metal roots, but all the while expanding upon their extreme metal and progressive influences. And here we are with Weapons of Tomorrow. Do the band continue on their trajectory of their roots-conscious but expansive and extreme thrash metal attack? Let's dive in.
Do you remember the 2011 internet sensation that was Potion Seller? Our dear apothecary here at the Sleeping Village was nearly ruined by said video back in the day--besides the sudden mistrust in the potion selling industry, people kept asking him for potent quotables. As such, he was extremely resistant to the notion of us giving any publicity to that which endangered his livelihood (and his sanity.) But tyranny rules, and so here we are.
For those unfamiliar: one fateful day, one Justin Kuritzkes posted a video in which he utilized the glorious photo booth distortion filter to record dialogue between a knight and a potion seller who flat-out refuses to sell the knight any of his potions. Hilarity ensues, as did the tributes that inevitably spawn from virality. If you hadn't already guessed: the band in question today is, indeed, an overt tribute.
RoadRash. The name alone strongly reeks of a certain sonic quality: mustachioed, leatherclad, whiskey-sodden, and imbued with a lifetime of chainsmok’d cheap cigars. You either know what I’m talkin’ about, or you have never experienced (or imagined) the adrenal rush associated with drag racing a Mad Maxian jalopy down the uncivilized highway, sparks flying from the torn bumper’s ungainly contact with the sunbaked pavement, booze churning though your veins and Motorhead bootlegs blaring through busted speakers. Y’know, that particular (and relatable) fantasy.
Self-reported “Canadian speed metal marauders” RoadRash are raw speed metal at its most straightforward, most belligerent, and, frankly, most fun. Think Excited. Think Razor. If you’re still with me, think Warhead, or Living Death, or Iron Angel. Whiplash with sleezier vocals and more references to driving fast. In other words, RoadRash (and now you, presumably,) are familiar indeed with the grimy lineup of speed metal royalty. This 2-track EP exudes a gloriously infectious devil-may-care ‘tude--and when it comes to speed metal, if you ain’t got that, you ain’t got shit.
Autumn was a brief affair here at the Sleeping Village, and now that rime coats our beards and the snow has unceremoniously de-robed the trees, we slumbering scribes are all set to slip into hibernation for the next five months or so.
But! To combat said lethargy before it truly sets in, I, in all my administration authority, bequeathed our archivist to trawl through our overstuffed mailcart for something worthy of our collective attention. When he emerged, Galaxy’s sci-fi inspired debut EP clutched in white-knuckled grasp, I was confident we had, at very least, an approximation of a winner. And so here we are, blasting Lost From the Start ‘till our lids droop. Feel free to join in the festivities.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!