Thursday, February 13, 2014

Metal Briefs: Thrash Metal

I Don't Always Go Along with Memes, but . . .

Thrash metal is not normally on my diet. Whether that's just because Metallica and Slayer had done everything worth doing before 1990, or what, I can't really decide. But I like to keep some of it around from time to time.

Scythe: Subterranean Steel (2013)
4 out of 5 stars

One of about two-dozen metal bands named Scythe, this Chicago outfit managed to make something really remarkable: A pure thrash metal record that I actually care about. There's usually about one of those each year. It has the same kind of energy and aggression that I recall from Artillery's When Death Comes, but with growled vocals and an extreme metal edge that might qualify it as "brutal thrash metal" if we needed to engage in that level of taxonomic pedantry. Subterranean Steel is catchy, too.


Dismemberment: Denied Salvation (EP 2012)
4 out of 5 stars

Dismemberment pretty much sound like Skeletonwitch. There aren't too many bands aping Skeletonwitch, as worthwhile as that effort is. As their cover art and name might suggest, Dismemberment throw a little more death into that blackened thrash metal, so they're not perfect clones. Bonus: The mix is perfect. This EP comes ripping.

Hellbastard: Sons of Bitches (2013)
3.5 out of 5 stars

Hellbastard is one of the most important bands in crust punk history, but on the Sons of Bitches EP they're pretty much just a thrash metal band with simpler riffs. Maybe that makes it crossover? I'm not an expert in the field. It's a nice short-player with two fast songs (the title track and "System Whore"), a slower song ("Arcadia"), a mostly-instrumental song ("We Had Evidence"), and a goofball song ("Throw the Petrol Bomb"). I like most of this record, but that goofball track at the end--and I know it's a joke--almost ruins it for me. Reggae is the worst form of music ever created.

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