Look. In the hunt for excellent heavy metal with which to rudely awaken our slumbering populace, we're well aware that some genres, by nature, aren't...how shall we say. Subtle in their execution?
The nasty blackened thrash/speed metal/punk conglomerate brokered by Wraith is the definition of one such sonic palette. Gloriously exemplified by high-octane riffage, rabid vocals, and a general sense of fun-loving wild abandon, their sophomoric album is an effort as energetic as it is loud. Take opener "Devil's Hour" as a prime example of all that follows: a raucous ride, equal parts deadly and jubilant. Think Midnight, Witchtrap, or perhaps Exciter, all by way of Venom. While the more critical among us would comment on the extreme brevity and the general lack of diversity, I'm here to say, emphatically: who gives a damn? I went into Absolute Power expecting an absolute ripper, and that's exactly what I got. No more, no less. Thank god.
Occasionally, something breaches our slumbering village's humble walls and whips a little life back into the plague-ridden peasantry. Such is the case with the (forthcoming) too-short-but-oh-so-sweet 2-track demo from Warsaw's Sanity Control--the briefest of endeavors, imbued with the best of the respective punk and thrash realms. This bruiser was self-released this past February, but will be receiving a full cassette treatment from the certifiably esteemed Seeing Red Records.
Take the punky slur and aggressive drive of Cryptic Slaughter, Attitude Adjustment's hardcore ‘tude, and a healthy injection of ripping thrashy riffage. And there you have it. Sanity Control's formula isn't new or novel, but yet this is crossover at its most effective, seamlessly integrating the highlights of both respective genres. Notably, the two tracks herein feel quite distinct in character, giving a little hope for Sanity Control's ability to write songs varied enough to prevent the dread crossover fatigue. “Hunt” relies comfortably on a bombastic chanted chorus, while “Swarm” implicates some fierce vitriol and an unexpectedly acidic solo. The result? An invigorating and endlessly repeatable lil’ bundle of grimy joy. What more could you ask for?
Our populace rejoices in the face of a rising force in crossover excellence. If you've got (quite exactly) five minutes of free time, Sanity Control comes highly recommended.
Sanity Control - Demo 2019 will be released June 21st, 2019 from Seeing Red Records.
Sanity Control can be found on ye olde Bandcamp.
Given the convoluted intros that have become a bit of a calling card ‘round these parts, we wizened scribes find ourselves in a bit of a situation here. Here's the rub: Entrenched is an outfit about which I know astonishingly little. No niceties regarding city of origin, or band members, or associated acts. In this sense, unless you’ve seen the gloriously indicative album artwork for their sophomore effort Endless Occupation, the music really must speak for itself.
And to be honest, it doesn't speak so much as roar vivaciously. Entrenched play, for all intents and purposes, a speed and thrash-oriented brand of death a la Demolition Hammer or Morbid Saint. They wear the visceral war-torn trappings of Sodom--take the track titles, which range from the obvious ("Meatshield"), to the goofy ("Goreamedic"), to the exclamatory ("Terrorize the Insurgency")--but yet conduct themselves with the juggernautian bombast of Malevolent Rapture-era Legion of the Damned. Imagine if Merciless or Invasion lost their more overtly frantic edges, and gained instead a Vader-esque sense of (moderate) composure. But yet, these comparisons are imperfect, and despite existing in a fairly well-occupied space, Entrenched are seemingly their own bloody beast, taking the bits that work, but never feeling derivative to a consequential degree. Needless to say, if you want thrashy riffs and endless bullet-belted aggression, Endless Occupation will scratches that itch with...well, take your pick of rusty implement. Rake. Machete. Lawnmower.
At 29 brief minutes, Entrenched present an idyllic neck-whipping package. Vocals bark and growl at a wondrously energetic pace, throwing themselves into the fray with a stoicism that arises from well-conceived confidence. Percussion operates exactly how you might hope: pounding, ceaseless, skull-crushingly relentless. Drummers all-too-oft get the short end of the stake--and particularly so in the case of a genre that is exceedingly riff reliant--but here, the percussion is just too damn integral to not receive a well-deserved spot in the limelight. Entrenched bring solid performances across the board, and that goes a long way to making sure that the more overtly gun-brandishing, bandana-wearing, and otherwise cigar-chomping moments aren’t without an appropriately solid foundation.
Highlight tracks are difficult to determine, as I believe, seemingly paradoxically, that Entrenched operate on their highest level when they slow things down. “Interrogation Chamber,” “Terrorize the Insurgency,” and “Assisted Suicide Enlistment” all demonstrate their keen ability to switch gears, and in a genre based so frequently in balls-to-the-wall wild abandon, this is a prime differentiator. Otherwise, give the title track a listen to see what they accomplish at their most visceral.
Endless Occupation is indeed, as I stated a long while ago, a “wild fuckin’ ride.” This album has occupied my listening rotation...well, endlessly, since it first came to my attention. In a world with a near-endless supply of gore, good riffs, and a delightfully kinetic atmosphere, that's saying something. Highly recommended!
Written by: Tales_of_Deception
The beginning of my journey with metal started nearly two decades ago. Possessed, Testament, Overkill and Death were my life force at the time. I was a strapping young lad with zero spark on what my future would hold. All I knew was that I enjoyed the hell out of the bands mentioned above and couldn't get enough of them. As time went on, I slowly experimented with different genres of music and for some reason, the passion I had for pure thrash metal or head crushing death just sort of went the fuck out of the window. Flash forward to present day and I may have found the saving grace that has more potential to drag me out of the pits when it comes to thrash/death metal than I've heard in nearly a decade.
Suffering In Diseases is the debut record from Germany's own Toxic Trap. At first listen, I was a little on the boarder of "really enjoying this record" and "it could use some work in spaces". By the end, I was in bliss and didn't want to come out of whatever I was in. The opening track, "Black Death," really hits the nail on the head when it comes to embracing the roots of the founding fathers of thrash. A slow melodic, creeping intro for a mere 30-seconds is what you get until the flesh from your ears is ripped apart from the throttling bass and addictive speed of the drums. It might start there but it most definitely does not end at that point. Track by track Toxic Trap does everything they can to hold the listeners attention.
To be honest, it seems that they have it all figured out. When it's time for one track to end and the next to begin, you prepare yourself for the same thing on repeat for damn near 47-minutes. At least that's usually the case with most of the thrash/death records I've heard in the past. Spoiler alert! Suffering In Diseases isn't that! It's a record that can be repeated a hundred times on a loop and you will hear something brand new every single time. Just look at the track below, "Burned To Death." It's a whirlpool of destruction that consistently slaps you right in the fucking mouth but then graciously doctors the wounds it just pounded into your skull. Best of both worlds, right?
In closing, the thought and depth that the guys from Toxic Trap put into this whole project is very welcomed and loved, at least by me. All the words in the world couldn't begin to explain how pleased I am with this record as a whole. From front to back and every inch in between, this record is exactly what I want from a thrash/death record, if you couldn't tell from the above paragraphs. Don't take my opinion for facts, give it a listen and support it if you enjoy it.
Country of Origin: Germany | Genres: Thrash/Death Metal | Record Type: Full-Length | Release Date: September, 2018
We here at the Sleeping Village don't like to pull punches, so here is the hard truth: Summoned To Rise kicks ass like none other, and I mean this in a genuinely physical sense. Create A Kill days qualify, unequivocally, as back-and-shoulder days. If you think I’m being coy, ask my post-headbang upper torso. After a year largely devoid of thrash that gives a damn, it’s been a stark relief to be thrown around, mercilessly, by this Floridian outfit’s worthy experiment in revivalism.
Create A Kill brings talent from a veritable who’s who of thrash and death royalty. Gus Rios, Daniel Gonzalez, and Alex Marquez? Check. Dirk Verbueren and Tobias Gustafsson show up too? You bet. Even Matt Harvey lends his laryngitic vox to the mix. These boys know how to write great thrash metal--and, even more impressively, this supergroup avoids spoiling the broth despite a bevy of talented cooks in the kitchen.
Sodom, Possessed, and Burton-era Metallica remain primary points of comparison, but at the end of the day, some aspect of your favorite thrashers has undoubtedly ended up in this delightful mosh. In the vein of their progenitors, Create A Kill deals in wildly rambunctious riffage. Possessing a runaway train momentum and lightening-quick pugilism, the axemanship on display exists, seemingly, to bust heads. In these able hands, it’s safe to say that shred ain’t dead. That said, a distinct willingness to slow things down to a mid-tempo groove keeps things from falling into the repetitive slurry that all-too-oft plagues modern attempts at thrash. But yet, guitar doesn’t solely hold this album together. Offering a seismic edge and a brutal drive, the drums provide an consistently aggressive rhythmic background. Marquez on vocals is utterly belligerent in the best of ways, recalling both the venomous bark of Demolition Hammer’s Steve Reynolds, and Angelripper’s frantically lurching cadence.
As a unit, Summoned To Rise is remarkably well-conceived--as one who typically finds albums to be excessive in their length, I find myself holding my battered body upright in abject appreciation. Create A Kill are veterans in the field, and a significant aspect of that professionalism is illustrated in their focus and ability to trim the fat. Some weaker moments are evident, but for days, I’ve been asking myself if they are less issues with Create A Kill specifically, and more the state of thrash metal in general. A lack of solos is worth mentioning, but thrash ultimately brings to mind neck-crunching riffage as the primary means to an end. That said, there is a moment on Crave The Blade in particular where a solo disappointingly falls back into the fold after several deliciously anguished notes.
Lyrically, there’s little to write home about. Decimate, for example, essentially comprises a verbose hitman’s laundry list. This album is littered with awkward turns of visceral phrase, with the band name itself being a prime example. But! Isn’t this why us thrashers tune in, time and time again? Sodom’s Agent Orange, a shining example of the genre’s capacities, is a syntactic disaster. Anthrax, with the gift of hindsight, delivered a very competent and enjoyable album in 2016’s For All Kings--and yet, it largely reads like angsty margin ramblings. I can honestly think of very few thrash albums that truly exude quality lyricism, and, as such, when taken in the larger context, Create A Kill’s stylings seems a nonexistent issue--and indeed, a paradoxically honorific triumph.
The sheer fact that Summoned To Rise consistently brings to mind the work of the greats isn’t reflective of Create A Kill’s shortcomings, but rather their true strength. The soul of thrash isn’t the easiest to tap, but here we are, imbibing on high-octane ichor. Besides lending a general optimism to the future of thrashy offerings, this album comes, needless to say, highly recommended. Don’t miss out.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and heavy enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a certain groggy-eyed and highfalutin' peasantry.