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
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: The Voiceless Apparition
Oh, Finland. What a glorious country--with your beautiful scenery, and, of course, your DEATH METAL. Yes, Finland, has produced some of the greatest death metal bands of all time: old Amorphis (love their new albums still), Convulse, Mordicus, Demilich, and of course Purtenance. The latter, topday's band in question, formed in 1989 under the name Purtenance Avulsion but shortened their name in 1991, releasing an EP and debut album before disbanding. Buried Incarnation is their third album released after reforming in 2012. But what awaits me on this audial journey? Let's begin.
"Into the Arctic Gloom" is quite the introduction. It's epic, sinister, and full of atmosphere. I really love the eerie melodies they use for the keyboards in the background, which only give the song more atmosphere.
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.
Solitude in Madness is here, and, as one might expect by this stage in their illustrious career, Vader is as Vader does. These guys have been putting in the work for a good long while at a remarkably consistent rate, delivering decent-to-good slabs of death metal with the kind of fibrous regularity the Village’s brick shithouse comes, over time, to respect. Headbangable thrashy death done right is a constant from the Vader camp.
But...there’s a big but. By their twelfth full-length release, these Polish death pedallers have begun to toe that slippery slope towards legacy act mediocrity. Not complacency, mind--they still play with a ferocity and a bite, and they still hit the nail on the head more often than not. Unfortunately, however, my feelings regarding this album after a plethora of run-throughs can be boiled down to this: as fast-paced death metal, it’s quite enjoyable in the moment, but suffers significantly when it comes to staying power. Granted, most of us aren’t looking for the year’s greatest or most innovative riff-fest when we crack open a cold Vader, so take my criticism for what you will.
After long last, we slumbering peasantry arise, back with another edition of our neglected Sleeping Village Sampler.
For those of you not in the know, this is our (regrettably infrequent) column wherein we review, in brief, two of the bands that have escaped the clutches of a full length writeup. There's a lot of underground stuff wailing incessantly from the ol' inbox, and, as this particular scribe has made a concerted effort as of late to listen to bands who don't necessarily benefit from label support, the bigger releases have kinda been getting the short end of the stick. Rather than devoting the time, then, to reviewing these two albums in full, I'll just throw out my general thoughts and we can call it a day. Sound good? Good.
Taking a card from the band in question’s deck, we’re jumping over the typical long-winded intro you’ve undoubtedly come to expect ‘round these parts. Today it’s straight into the fray as we fire up another rotation of Restructure the Molded Mind, the third effort from Bay Area death thrashers Hemotoxin. Let's pulverize a blood vessel or two, shall we?
Hemotoxin's approach recalls a wide variety of bands from the primordial days of thrash-infused death metal--the era where experimentation into increasingly violent and technical territory represented, for good reason, the heights of innovation. Instrumentally, they hit (with a varying degree of accuracy) that vague point on the thrash metal timeline right after Death came a-knocking.
In the primordial days of this here Sleeping Village, we reviewed a track from Perversión, the third EP from Chile's own Corspehammer. At heart, Corpsehammer plays fairly basic (if notably speedy) brand of black/death/thrash, but that doesn’t change the simple fact that this EP squirms its way into rotation at an alarming rate of frequency. They also have a debut full length out, which I shall be enjoying in short order. But: first things first.
“Reino – Sangre del Diablo” is a ominous and crashing affair, while follow-ups “Rito & Magia” and standout track "Sexo y Muerto" shift and grind their way into higher gear. I enjoy a deliberate build from standard fare into the wild and unhinged, and here, Corpsehammer deliver handily. The outro, like so many, feels largely unnecessary, but so it goes.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!