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.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.