Album Review – Inferno / Basado En Hechos Reales (2019)

An up-and-coming thrashing beast from Spain returns with another sensational round of old school, unrelenting Thrash Metal, telling stories of violence, death and corruption from our rotten society.

Born in 2009 as a cover band from the ashes of several underground groups from the Spanish city of Ceuta, but writing their own original material since 2011 after some important lineup changes, the unstoppable Thrash Metal unity known as Inferno has been on a row in the past few years, having released their six-track debut EP Arrodíllate in 2014 and their first full-length album Genética Humana in 2017, both receiving very positive feedback from the press and from fans on heavy music in general. After such solid start, it was more than obvious that this thrashing beast from Spain would strike again in a not-so-distant future, which is exactly what’s happening now in 2019 with their sophomore release, the pulverizing Basado En Hechos Reales, which translates to English as “based on true events”.

Comprised of frontman Juan Manuel León, guitarists Ángel “Koto” Bermúdez and Antonio González, bassist Carlos Bermejo and drummer Miguel Osuna, Inferno take no prisoners in their quest for extreme music, playing as loudly, fast and aggressively as they can without giving us a single second to breathe. Recorded, mixed and mastered by their own guitarist Koto and featuring an old school cover artwork designed by Indonesian artist Wibowo Yudo Baskoro (Five Milligrams), who has already worked with bands like Napalm Death, Possessed, Morbid Saint and Massacre, Basado En Hechos Reales is an electrifying ode to all things thrash, perfectly representing all the band’s passion and commitment to such entertaining sub genre of heavy music.

An ominous Gregorian chant kicks off the blasphemous havoc entitled Ruega Por Nosotros (or “pray for us” in English), with Koto and Antonio cutting our skin deep with their riffs while frontman Juan Manuel vociferates the song’s harsh and anti-religious words rabidly, setting the tone for the also hammering Tu Sucio Dinero (“your dirty money”), with the rumbling bass punches by Carlos kicking us in the face mercilessly. Put differently, it’s raw, visceral and frantic Thrash Metal that lives up to the legacy of the genre, not to mention how potent the beats by Miguel sound throughout the entire song. And as aforementioned there’s no time to breathe with another kick-ass tune titled Como A Marionetas (“like puppets”), where we’re all invited to get smashed into the circle pit to more of their old school thrashing music, with highlights to the razor-edged guitar riffs and solos by Koto and Antonio.

Are you tired already? Because Inferno will hit you hard with their Spanish-spoken version of the early days of Testament and Exodus entitled Vuestra Ceguera (“your blindness”), where Miguel is an unstoppable stone crusher on drums while the guitars exhale harmony and brutality at the same time, whereas in Apriétate El Bozal (“squeeze the muzzle”) we face a high-octane fusion of sounds as if Metallica and Megadeth form the 80’s had a Spanish Chuck Billy as their vocalist (thanks to the great job done by Juan Miguel with his raspy, enraged vocals), with all destruction being boosted by the pulverizing drums by Miguel. There’s no sign of slowing down, as they continue their Thrash Metal party in Espiral De Mentiras (“spiral of lies”), where the guitar lines are in perfect sync with the vocals during the entire song, followed by Condenado A Vivir (“condemned to live”), an 80’s-inspired Bay Area Thrash hymn tailored for slamming into the circle pit, having a cold beer with your friends or simply banging your head nonstop like a beast. In addition, Juan Manuel sounds even more ferocious and demented on vocals than before, with the music flowing infernally until all is said and done.

Inferno’s source of energy seems to be endless as they add tons of horsepower to another piercing creation named Sin Domesticar (“without taming”), a sonic tribute to everyone that’s antisocial, rude and grim, with the Thrash Metal riffs and beats blasted by the band matching perfectly with the song’s sick lyrics, followed by Exterminio (“extermination”), where Juan Manuel roars and barks like a demonic entity in a fusion of Thrash and Death Metal highly recommended for diehard fans of extreme music. Lastly, in order to finish the extermination of the human race proposed in the previous song we have the fantastic Noches Sin Tregua (“nights without truce”) as the icing on the cake, with Miguel simply destroying his drum set while the band’s stringed trio provide Juan Manuel all he needs to thrive, vociferating violently like there’s no tomorrow without showing any mercy for our souls. Put differently, the album couldn’t have ended in a more fun and demolishing way, I might say.

Are you ready to slam into the pits of hell to the thunderous Thrash Metal made in Spain by Inferno? If the answer is yes, simply go check what those talented metallers are up to on Facebook, including their live concerts (the best thing in metal music, of course), and buy your copy of Basado En Hechos Reales from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Necromance Records’ BandCamp page or webstore. Basado En Hechos Reales is, as its name already says, based on all sad but true stories of corruption, death and violence from our decaying society, and the guys from Inferno certainly deserve our utmost recognition for gathering all that evil and putting together such entertaining album of classic Thrash Metal for our total delectation.

Best moments of the album: Ruega Por Nosotros, Condenado A Vivir and Noches Sin Tregua.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Necromance Records

Track listing
1. Ruega Por Nosotros 4:01
2. Tu Sucio Dinero 3:00
3. Como A Marionetas 3:10
4. Vuestra Ceguera 2:56
5. Apriétate El Bozal 3:41
6. Espiral De Mentiras 4:00
7. Condenado A Vivir 3:21
8. Sin Domesticar 3:20
9. Exterminio 3:05
10. Noches Sin Tregua 3:22

Band members
Juan Manuel León – vocals
Ángel “Koto” Bermúdez – guitar
Antonio González – guitar
Carlos Bermejo – bass
Miguel Osuna – drums

Album Review – Sahon / Chanting For The Fallen (2018)

Waging a war against stereotypes since the late 90’s, here comes a fast and furious power trio with their band new and electrifying opus, showcasing all their pride for their Korean heritage.

Although you might have never heard of South Korean Thrash Metal squad Sahon, those Asian metallers have been waging a war against stereotypes since the late 90’s, forging a sound that distills the best elements of Extreme Metal into a form of Thrash Metal that holds its own when pitted against the rest. Now in 2018 it’s time for vocalist and bassist Yong Ho Lee, guitarist Chang Myeong Lee and drummer Kyoung Hong Kim to unleash their latest opus, entitled Chanting For The Fallen, a lesson in Thrash Metal that showcases all the band’s pride for their Korean heritage and, as a consequence, makes them stand out in an overcrowded genre.

Formed in 1999 in the Korean capital Seoul, Sahon have always played austere and frantic Thrash Metal heavily influenced by both Death and Black Metal, singing about everyday topics such as politics, death, hate, Satanism and sex, being highly recommended for fans of renowned acts like Exodus, Destruction and Kreator. After the releases of a few full-length albums and one EP, Sahon are sharper than ever with their new installment Chanting For The Fallen, with the album’s stunning and peculiar artwork depicting their strong connection with their culture and country’s heritage, adding an extra touch of awesomeness to an album that has no weaknesses and shows no mercy for our spinal cords.

The pounding drums by Kyoung Hong Kim and the rumbling bass by Yong Ho Lee ignite the Slayer-inspired thrashing feast Faith of Savagery, bringing forward a demolishing sonority led by the demented vocals by Yong Ho Lee during the song’s four minutes of brutality highly recommended for simply getting smashed into the circle pit. And Chang Myeong Lee keeps firing old school Thrash Metal riffs through his flammable guitar in the insanely awesome At The Edge Of Cliff, while Yong Ho Lee vociferates like a maniac nonstop, living up to the legacy of Bay Area Thrash; followed by Survive, presenting a band that doesn’t know how to slow down or sound less violent than their music idols. Furthermore, not only this fun composition carries a name that’s beyond perfect to be the soundtrack to a brutal mosh pit, but Kyoung Hong Kim sounds truly infernal on drums from start to finish, keeping the song’s pace at a demented level. Less intense in terms of speed but extremely heavy and aggressive, Condemnation presents Yong Ho Lee not only barking like a beast, but his bass lines are also as thunderous as hell, with the music exploding into classic Thrash Metal in its final (and pulverizing) segment.

And there’s no time to breathe with another sonic havoc crafted by the Korean power trio of Thrash Metal, titled Charge Till The End, a song that shows all their passion for the boisterous music by iconic bands like Slayer and Exodus, spiced up by some classic guitar solos by Chang Myeong Lee. Then with its intro and initial riff inspired by Motörhead’s all-time classic “Overkill”, which ends up giving the song a more visceral and electrifying vibe, Born To Lose Live To Win brings forward amazing performances by all three band members, in special Kyoung Hong Kim with his ass-kicking beats, in what can be considered the ultimate fusion of old school Thrash Metal and badass Rock N’ Roll. In Joy Of Hatred the band delivers more Thrash Metal from the 80’s to your metallic years with a modern twist, with Chang Myeong Lee once again cutting our skin like a butcher with his razor-edged strings. In other words, it can’t get any thrashier than this. And lastly, their coup de grâce comes in the form of a one-and-a-half minute infernal hurricane of Thrash Metal with strong Black Metal influences and nuances titled You Shall Pay, where Yong Ho Lee has his most disturbing and demonic vocal performance of the whole album.

All the madness and devastation in the form of Thrash Metal blasted by Sahon can be better appreciated by following them on Facebook, and of course by purchasing Chanting For The Fallen from their own BandCamp page or from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore. After listening to this sensational album of old school, unrelenting Thrash Metal, not only you’ll get addicted to the music by Sahon, but I bet you’ll start saving some money to travel to South Korea just to have the pleasure of witnessing at least one live performance of the trio, smashing everything and everyone that crosses their path with absolutely no mercy.

Best moments of the album: At The Edge Of Cliff, Survive and Born To Lose Live To Win.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Transcending Obscurity Asia

Track listing
1. Faith of Savagery 4:27
2. At The Edge Of Cliff 3:15
3. Survive 3:52
4. Condemnation 3:56
5. Charge Till The End 3:44
6. Born To Lose Live To Win 4:16
7. Joy Of Hatred 4:57
8. You Shall Pay 1:38

Band members
Yong Ho Lee – vocals, bass
Chang Myeong Lee – guitar
Kyoung Hong Kim – drums

Album Review – Eruption / Cloaks of Oblivion (2017)

Slam into the pit to the sound of the brand new album by five Slovenian thrash metallers who have always kept fast, guitar-based and infectiously melodic metal as their mission statement.

Formed in late 2004, Eruption are a Thrash Metal band from Ljubljana, Slovenia. Throughout the years, the band has always kept fast, guitar-based, and infectiously melodic metal as their mission statement, culminating in the releases of Lifeless Paradise in 2009 and Tenses Collide in 2012. These two full-lengths, accompanied by the 2014 EP Live Transmissions, saw the band explore classic machine-gun thrash riffing accompanied by the soaring melodic vocals and sci-fi musings of vocalist Klemen Kalin. The energetic blend of influences allowed the band to present its music in a dynamic, furious show that saw Eruption share the stage with names such as Nuclear Assault and D.R.I, perform on the main stage of festivals such as MetalDays and Underwall, as well as garner excellent live responses from Serbia to Germany.

Now in 2017 those Slovenian metallers return with their third full-length effort, titled Cloaks of Oblivion, aiming at expanding their musical range to include a darker edge the likes of Sanctuary, Helstar and Vicious Rumors, all the while never abandoning their original recipe for aggressive, precision-crafted Bay Area Thrash à la Forbidden and Testament. Displaying a kick-ass disquieting cover artwork by Romanian artist Alex Boca, the dynamic and electrifying Cloaks of Oblivion will certainly help Eruption reach new heights, which also means we can rest assured old school Trash Metal will keep shaking the foundations of our society for many years to come. In addition to that, just like other Slovenian bands such as Hellcats and ShadowIcon, Eruption are also helping carry the flag of their charming country everywhere they go, showing the world that although Slovenia is small in size, there’s an endless amount of hot heavy music flowing through its veins.

Many heavy bands like to provide us their version of a “calm before the storm”, like Eruption in the serene and melancholic intro Pharos, before sheer Thrash Metal hits us in Sanity Ascend, where guitarists Andrej Cuk and Grega Kamenšek begin their shredding attack while lead singer Klemen Kalin sounds like a thrashier version of Ripper Owens with hints of Joey Belladonna, nicely declaiming the song’s thoughtful lyrics (“Battling with the river of dreams / I’m lost in thought / Drowning in an intellectual stream / My mind adrift / The current carries me down to the sea of lunacy / By the waves of madness engulfed I can’t breathe / My lifeline’s been cut, no pharos in sight / I plunge into the darkness of my reflection”). In the title-track Cloaks of Oblivion a beautiful acoustic intro suddenly explodes into top-notch modern Thrash Metal, becoming a mid-tempo dark composition that reminds me of the great Forbidden. Once again, Klemen steals the spotlight with his vocal lines, with the gorgeous bassist Nika Krmelj and the talented drummer Ivan Cepanec bringing tons of groove to the overall musicality.

In Drones, the band puts the pedal to the metal in an ode to old school Bay Area Thrash, featuring slashing guitar riffs, spot-on backing vocals and infinite electricity. Hence, if they play this kick-ass tune live and you don’t crush your skull into the pit, I feel really sorry for your poor soul. Anyway, Reborn into Demise displays an imposing sonority crafted by Eruption bringing more flammable Thrash Metal for our avid ears, sounding like two songs in one due to the accelerated speed of its second half, and with the metallic bass by Nika together with the cutting sound of guitars by Andrej and Grega being beyond awesome. And the band has more devastating thrashing sounds to offer in the thrilling and very technical The Yearning, led by the band’s frantic guitar duo while Klemen keeps firing his demonic high-pitched screams.

A soulful solo ignites the obscure tune This Barren Existence, showcasing great lyrics (“Petrified I lost my speech / I can’t see my eyes are painted / Ruled by a voice that does not speak / I fear my mind is growing weak / Feel my spirit suffocating / The chords just keep coordinating”) despite the music itself never really taking off and going on for too long. The second to last thrashing hurricane engendered by Eruption, titled Seven Archons, brings more of their badass attitude and epic sonority featuring guest vocalist Simon Jovanović, with Ivan and Nika continuing to rumble in the background, therefore providing Klemen the exact ambience needed for his potent voice. Lastly we have The Prophet, which carries an old school name that matches perfectly with its  heavy, dark and straightforward sonority. Furthermore, its slashing riffs and headbanging rhythm are undoubtedly its main ingredients, with the music also exhaling epicness thanks to the poetic performance by Klemen on vocals.

You can take a nice shot at Cloaks of Oblivion in its entirety on YouTube or on Spotify, as well as follow Eruption on Facebook and purchase the album at their BandCamp page, at the Xtreem Music’s BandCamp or webstore, on iTunes or on Amazon. And may the force of old school Thrash Metal be with the Slovenian people forever and ever, thanks to the amazing music by Eruption.

Best moments of the album: Sanity Ascend, Drones and The Yearning.

Worst moments of the album: This Barren Existence.

Released in 2017 Xtreem Music

Track listing 
1. Pharos 1:25
2. Sanity Ascend 4:45
3. Cloaks of Oblivion 6:03
4. Drones 5:13
5. Reborn into Demise 6:14
6. The Yearning 5:23
7. This Barren Existence 6:00
8. Seven Archons 5:47
9. The Prophet 7:35

Band members
Klemen Kalin – vocals
Andrej Cuk – guitars
Grega Kamenšek – guitars
Nika Krmelj – bass
Ivan Cepanec – drums

Guest musicians
Simon Jovanović – additional vocals on “Seven Archons”
Anže Železnik, David Orehar, Matic Babič & Andrej Čuk – gang vocals

Album Review – Testament / Brotherhood Of The Snake (2016)

Join the Brotherhood of Thrash Metal spearheaded by one of the heaviest, most technical and most electrifying bands on the entire planet or die.

Rating1

testament_brotherhood-of-the-snakeRight after taking your first listen at Brotherhood Of The Snake, the eleventh studio album by American Thrash Metal servicemen Testament, you’ll realize what you have in your hands is a newborn metal classic. From start to finish, Brotherhood Of The Snake offers fans of both old school and modern Thrash Metal everything we love and crave in this type of music, from deep guttural vocals and supersonic blast beats to intricate and hellish guitar riffs and solos. And after Brotherhood Of The Snake, we can also say Testament brought into being a new first-class trilogy in heavy music, as all albums released after the band’s huge time off from studio in the early 2000’s, those being The Formation Of Damnation (2008), Dark Roots Of Earth (2012) and now Brotherhood Of The Snake, are beyond magnificent.

Featuring a menacing and classy artwork by Israeli artist Eliran Kantor, who has been working with Testament in all their releases since 2008, Brotherhood Of The Snake transpires pure Thrash Metal in all its 45 minutes of duration. Of course there are also their classic mid-tempo and slow, heavy tunes, but more than half of the album is comprised of high-speed thrashy material that will certainly ignite some demented mosh pits during their live concerts. Regarding the main concept of the album, Chuck has stated in one of his interviews that the album draws lyrical inspiration from the ancient astronaut hypothesis, namely through the Ancient Aliens television program. Furthermore, he said the title comes from the name of an ancient secret society (set up thousands of years ago by an alien named Ea or Enki, by the way).

The initial cavernous roar by Chuck in the title-track Brotherhood of the Snake is the epitome of the whole album, being barbaric, intimidating and thrilling at the same time. Moreover, the perfect riffs by both Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick are mightily enhanced by the thunderous beats blasted by the juggernaut Gene Hoglan, making the lyrics sound even more meaningful in the end (“They’ve taken the tablets and hidden the scrolls / To deceive the ones they protect / The truth of creation, mutation of man / Entombed in the vatican walls”), with the song’s heavier-than-hell ending being just the icing on the cake. And it looks like their Thrash Metal onslaught has no time to end based on the amazing The Pale King, where it’s possible to savor the potent sound emanating from each instrument due to the crystal clear production of the album, in special the rumbling weapon carried by Steve Di Giorgio. In addition, Chuck treats us all with another of his flawless performances on vocals in this rhythmic and raw composition, something only a band like Testament can provide.

testament-2016Stronghold feels like a tribute to themselves and to the golden years of Bay Area Thrash, a fuckin’ kick-ass mosh pit-generator with bestial vocals and even more bestial backing vocals with the guitars by Eric and Alex penetrating our bones and lacerating our spinal cords mercilessly. In other words, this is a sonic orgasm for fans of fast and furious Thrash Metal from the 80’s, and I guess I don’t need to repeat myself and say it will sound absolutely perfect when played live. Following that thrashy storm, we have Seven Seals, showcasing beautiful guitar solos by Eric and Alex as well as intelligent and meaningful lyrics powerfully declaimed by Chuck, all embraced by heaviness to the second power, and it doesn’t matter if Gene is playing at full speed or if the song demands groovier and more rhythmic beats, he always delivers. And Born in a Rut, another groovy composition with fierce drums and a more serene (but also obscure) aura, concludes the first half of the album on a high note, perfect for enjoying a cold a beer while banging your head to another lesson in heavy music by Testament.

Another sensational hymn by Chuck and his unstoppable horde in undoubtedly Centuries of Suffering, where the dynamic duo Eric and Alex are once again on fire with their boisterous guitars, delivering riffs and solos that sound like if they were forged in the fires of the underworld. Not only that, what Gene does with his drum kit at around two minutes is truly impressive, increasing the song’s quality and ferocity to a whole new level. That guy is indeed a human wrecking machine. In Neptune’s Spear (a beautiful name for a first-class song), I can’t decide if the pounding drums by Gene or the blazing guitar riffs and solos by both Eric and Alex are the best elements of it, not to mention the aggressiveness brought forth by Steve and his unique bass sounds; whereas Black Jack is the ultimate soundtrack for an insane cards game “in the city of sin”, with its straightforward lyrics being boosted by its demolishing instrumental.

brotherhood-of-the-snake-boxset

Brotherhood Of The Snake Limited Edition Book Boxset

I’m neither pro nor against the theme explored in Canna-Business as I believe each one of us has the freedom to do whatever we want with our lives, and that’s why I want to focus on the music itself rather than on the discussion if that’s right or wrong. The whole song is evidently overpowering and electrifying, as expected in any composition by Testament, a high-octane chant with Chuck barking like a beast as well as providing some really deep vocals and vociferations. And lastly, The Number Game keeps the fire of Thrash Metal burning high and bright, with the performances by Chuck and Gene trespassing the frontiers of aggressiveness. No words can describe their awesomeness, especially the crazy beats and fills by Gene, therefore I suggest you simply go listen to it nonstop and don’t forget to break your fuckin’ neck headbanging to its brilliant hellish riffs.

There’s a series of videos on Nuclear Blast’s YouTube channel where Testament discuss each song of the album, their inspiration to write Brotherhood Of The Snake and the ancient alien theme, among other topics, like you can see for example HERE. I personally recommend you go watch those videos to get more involved with such an epic album, and of course if you’re planning on buying this instant classic just go for the Limited Edition Book Boxset, which includes the CD, the complete album on five brown 7 inch EP’s, an oversized 7 inch booklet, a 40×60 inch poster flag and a metal pin. Join the Brotherhood of Thrash Metal spearheaded by Testament, one of the heaviest, most technical and most electrifying bands on the entire planet or die. As simple as that.

Best moments of the album: Brotherhood of the Snake, Stronghold, Centuries of Suffering and The Number Game.

Worst moments of the album: Obviously none.

Released in 2016 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. Brotherhood of the Snake 4:14
2. The Pale King 4:51
3. Stronghold 4:00
4. Seven Seals 5:38
5. Born in a Rut 4:57
6. Centuries of Suffering 3:34
7. Neptune’s Spear 5:27
8. Black Jack 4:21
9. Canna-Business 3:47
10. The Number Game 4:38

Band members
Chuck Billy – vocals
Eric Peterson – guitar
Alex Skolnick – guitar
Steve Di Giorgio – bass
Gene Hoglan – drums

Album Review – Soulwound / No Peace (2016)

This berserk quintet from Finland brings forward absolutely no peace with their high-end assault of visceral Death and Thrash Metal.

Rating4

soulwound-cover640Carrying a robust and ominous name taken from a Fear Factory bonus song from the limited edition of their 1998 classic album Obsolete, Finnish Death/Thrash Metal group Soulwound are releasing their second opus entitled No Peace, offering fast, brutal, heavy and aggressive metal music with both old school and more contemporary influences, picking up where their 2013 debut full-length album Seeing Red left off. While listening to No Peace, you’ll find hints of the unique sonority crafted by Sepultura, the sonic havoc brought forth by Testament, the intricate and thunderous beats by Slayer, among other elements from several Thrash Metal giants, all enhanced by the band’s own Death Metal touch. In other words, if you’re looking for soft and romantic music, forget about Soulwound, as they’re among us to crush and destroy.

Forged in the fires of the small village of Myllykoski in Kouvola, Finland (located around 130 kilometers northeast of the capital Helsinki) by brothers Niko (guitar) and Janne Huusari (drums) in 2005, and having released a few demos before Seeing Red became a reality in 2013 with Arto Jauho stepping in as the band’s vocalist, Soulwound’s current lineup took form in 2014 when Mikko, the youngest of the Huusari brothers, joined the band as their second guitarist, resulting in all three brothers playing in the same band. And it’s perhaps that family unity that helped Soulwound achieve such a high level of professionalism in a short span of time, sounding like long-serving defenders of extreme music.

An eerie female voice explaining what impulsive aggression is makes the Fear Factory-inspired metallic Intro: Impulsive Aggression one of those creepy album starts that enfolds the listener before the neck-breaking Hurt Me Plenty kicks off, which despite showcasing lots of modern elements added to its background, in essence it’s old school visceral Death Metal. Moreover, while Arto fires his potent harsh growls, Janne delivers an avalanche of groovy and fierce beats and fills for the delight of lovers of the genre. As violent as the opening track but slightly heavier due to the kick-ass riffs by the guitar brothers Niko and Mikko (as well as the low-tuned sounds by bassist Joni Järvenmäki), Altars of Skin feels like a hybrid of Cavalera Conpiracy and Fear Factory with a Scandinavian twist, translating into pure awesomeness, whereas Alone Against All brings forward high-octane Death Metal highly influenced by the rebellious sound of Bay Area Thrash. Its sick guitar solos and endless amount of electricity turn it into one of the best moments of the album, being strongly recommended as the soundtrack for some insane circle pits.

p7172350-02Wasteland is yet another flawless Thrash Metal tune with elements from Sepultura, Slayer and Testament, in special the boisterous drumming by Janne and the visceral growls by Arto, and if you love darkened music emanating pure hatred you’ll have a complete blast listening to this superb tune. Then it’s time for more of Soulwound’s headbanging music with some menacing voices in the background before Anto comes gnarling like a beast in Crime and Punishment, which albeit slower than the previous songs it showcases some great riffage by both Niko and Mikko; followed by Misery Index with its berserk rhythm powered by huge dosages of anger. This is one of those songs the band wrote with their minds on their live performances due to its “festival potential”, also exhibiting some excellent guitar solos and a demented ending.

Hate Speech sounds very similar to its predecessor, displaying almost the same heaviness, speed and ferocity, which means that if they play these two songs in a row during their concerts I’m quite sure we’ll see some blood spilling from the crowd. And as one final explosion of Death Metal we have Damned, as brutal and well-crafted as the rest of the album, yet again embracing elements from Bay Area Thrash mixed with contemporary Death Metal and with highlights to the deep and desperate guttural by Anto.

As Soulwound is offering us all absolutely no peace with their visceral and modern music, we should all show them our respect and support by visiting their Facebook page, YouTube channel and SoundCloud, and you can take all that peaceless Death Metal craziness home by purchasing their brand new album at the Inverse Records’ webstore (as a regular CD version or a CD + T-shirt bundle), at CDON.COM, or at Record Shop X. As already mentioned, Soulwound are not among us to bring joy or tranquility to our lives, but to provide a demolishing assault of high-end metal music, which is indeed all we ask for when the music in question is Death and Thrash Metal.

Best moments of the album: Altars of Skin, Alone Against All and Wasteland.

Worst moments of the album: Crime and Punishment.

Released in 2016 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Intro: Impulsive Aggression 1:57
2. Hurt Me Plenty 5:09
3. Altars of Skin 4:29
4. Alone Against All 3:40
5. Wasteland 4:59
6. Crime and Punishment 5:50
7. Misery Index 4:20
8. Hate Speech 4:26
9. Damned 5:55

Band members
Arto Jauho – vocals
Niko Huusari – guitar
Mikko Huusari – guitar
Joni Järvenmäki – bass
Janne Huusari – drums

Album Review – Death Angel / The Evil Divide (2016)

Fast and furious anthems, dark mid-tempo songs, austere lyrics and endless stamina. This is how high-quality Thrash Metal should always be done.

Rating3

death angel_the evil dividethrash
/THraSH/

verb
1. beat (a person or animal) repeatedly and violently with a stick or whip.
“she thrashed him across the head and shoulders” 

noun
1. 
a violent or noisy movement, typically involving hitting something repeatedly.
“the thrash of the waves”
2. a style of fast, loud, harsh-sounding rock music, combining elements of punk and heavy metal.

In case you didn’t know the meaning of the word “thrash”, this is the official definition of both the verb and the noun for you to memorize anytime someone asks you why Thrash Metal has such a peculiar name. However, if this is too much for you to remember during a conversation (or if you’re too drunk to make long and complex sentences), simply keep two words in mind, those being Death Angel, and it will be extremely easy for you to explain exactly what Thrash Metal is all about. Those thrash metallers from Daly City, the largest city in San Mateo County, California, in the United States, might have gone through several line-up changes and a huge hiatus during the 90’s, but after their resurrection in 2001 they have been delivering nothing but top-notch heavy music to the world.

After the release of the excellent The Dream Calls for Blood, in 2013, one of the key bands in the Bay Area Thrash movement of the 80’s returns at full force in 2016 with their eighth studio album, the also amazing The Evil Divide. Featuring a distinct artwork by American tattoo artist Bob Tyrrell, The Evil Divide is a feast of fast and furious Thrash Metal anthems, dark mid-tempo songs, austere lyrics and, of course, flawless performances by all band members, especially frontman Mark Osegueda who displays a wider-than-usual vocal range throughout the entire album, providing a special taste to each one of the ten songs masterfully played by the band, turning The Evil Divide into one of the best albums of the year and a must-have for lovers of old school Thrash Metal.

Get yourself ready for a high-octane onslaught, because the opening track, named The Moth, offers those piercing riffs and overpowering drums we truly love in this type of music, being melodic and polished but keeping the overall violence at a high level. Moreover, as already mentioned, Mark Osegueda is getting more demonic (and consequently more awesome) through the years, bringing more dynamism to Death Angel’s musicality. Right after that solid start, the sick bass lines by Damien Sisson kick off the circle pit-generator Cause for Alarm, where guest guitarist Jason Suecof (Charred Walls of the Damned) fires an amazing solo while drummer Will Carroll paves a path of devastation behind his drum kit. Honestly, there’s no way a real metalhead can stand still to this hurricane of Thrash Metal.

Then it’s time to slow things down a bit in Lost, a powerful heavy ballad by Death Angel with Mark stealing the spotlight with his passionate performance on vocals, while guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar make sure the band’s aggression keeps burning nonstop through their riffs and solos; followed by Father of Lies, a belligerent Thrash Metal tune that reminds me of the golden years of Bay Area Thrash. All you have to do is grab a beer, slam into the pit and enjoy this excellent song, paying good attention to the outstanding job done on guitars and singing along with the band its catchy and vicious chorus.

death angelIn Hell to Pay, not only its lyrics and chorus couldn’t be any thrashier (“Lurid speaker, you toxic feeder / There’s no damage on the way / Selfish user, trust abuser / There will be hell to pay”), but the overall performance of the entire band is superb. Mark leads this sonic havoc with his sharp screams, while the rest of the band keeps “feeding the beast” with all their strength. Holy fuckin’ shit, what an amazing Thrash Metal anthem! And Death Angel keep blasting their fantastic music in It Can’t Be This, another tune to sing along with the band with highlights to the amazing riffs by Rob and Ted, as well as the rumbling bass lines by Damien, which increase the song’s impact on the listener. And there’s still a lot more to come, as Hatred United/United Hate is yet another song born to be a Thrash Metal classic of modern times. Guest guitarist Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) provides an excellent guitar solo that sounds like some of his classic creations from the early days of Sepultura, whereas Mark effectively follows the lines crafted by guitars and drums with his enraged screams.

In Breakaway, an intro keeps growing until the music explodes into cataclysmic Thrash Metal, with pure electricity flowing through all instruments in one of the best tracks of the album. This is an ode to everything we admire in the music by Exodus, Testament, Slayer and so many other icons, bringing forward the speed, melody and heaviness of most classic Thrash Metal anthems.  The Electric Cell, with its old school lyrics (“A cold deathly grip on the shovel of greed / You dig a mass unmarked grave / Just know your bones will be the first to lie / At the bottom of the masses betrayed”), is a good exhibit of the endless stamina present in all band members, especially Will who doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word “soft” while playing drums, before the cutting tune Let the Pieces Fall closes this superb album. It’s heavy and thrilling just like the rest of the album, with the vocal lines by Mark transpiring hatred. Thus, when it’s over you’ll go back to the beginning of the album and start listening to it all over again, and probably repeat that a few (or even a lot) more times until your body collapses due to unstoppable moshing and slamming.

In a nutshell, what Death Angel (or maybe I should call them “Thrash Angel”) offer us in The Evil Divide might not be a revolution in music, but it is exactly how high-quality Thrash Metal should always be done. And that seems to be an easy task for them due to the refined skills of each band member, a good sign of the bright future that lies ahead for the band and also for traditional Thrash Metal without a shadow of a doubt. No one knows if they’ll be able to top what they have achieved with The Dream Calls for Blood and The Evil Divide in recent years, and while we wait for their next release there’s plenty of awe-inspiring metal music from this iconic band in The Evil Divide to keep us banging our heads and raising our horns to the unparalleled and unrelenting sound of Thrash Metal for a good while.

Best moments of the album: Cause for Alarm, Hell to Pay, Hatred United/United Hate and Breakaway.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Nuclear Blast

Track listing
1. The Moth 4:38
2. Cause for Alarm (feat. Jason Succof) 3:22
3. Lost 4:57
4. Father of Lies 5:05
5. Hell to Pay 3:12
6. It Can’t Be This 4:16
7. Hatred United/United Hate (feat. Andreas Kisser) 5:17
8. Breakaway 4:01
9. The Electric Cell 4:38
10. Let the Pieces Fall 5:47

CD/DVD Digipak bonus track
11. Wasteland 5:18

Band members
Mark Osegueda – vocals
Rob Cavestany – guitar
Ted Aguilar – guitar
Damien Sisson – bass
Will Carroll – drums

Guest musicians
Jason Suecof – guitar solo on “Cause for Alarm”
Andreas Kisser – guitar solo on “Hatred United/United Hate”