Monday, April 30, 2012

Dreadfire ROCKS!

I freakin' LOVE it when I pop in an unknown band (unknown to me at least) and from the get-go I have my ass handed to me.

Portuguese thrashers DREADFIRE did just that when I happened upon one of their spams posted on another band's Facebook wall. I went to check out their streaming songs, and after waiting through the obligatory intro track, the opener Face the Storm finally hit.

Holy crap.

One thing that will get me almost every time is a straight forward, mid-paced headbanging riff. Dreadfire piles that on in spades, blowing the doors open with a galloping guitar punch that slams into a full-on thrash attack before hitting that mid-paced sweet spot. Oh, yeah. And when it hits, the head moves.

Now I know I speak a lot about "dynamics" in my comments and reviews of other bands, but if you want to hear how it works to perfection, listen to the aforementioned track Face the Storm. It's an ass-kicking of metal landscapes, adding tiny melodies over the stark, crunchy riffage, and the strategically short, atmospheric measures before the solo kicks the tune back into high gear are genius pieces of headbanging bliss.

Listen to the tracks below, and if you like it, Dreadfire are offering their demo as a free download. Get it here. Hit them up on Facebook here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend Breakdown: Kill Ritual, Pentomic, Pessimist, Nadimac, Zombie Fighter

All metal heads need to seek out San Jose's KILL RITUAL! Here we have a brilliant cross of old school thrash meets pure heavy f'n METAL. My GOD this stuff rocks. Truthfully, although their influences are well documented in the music they hammer out, I haven't heard a band hammer it out quite like Kill Ritual.

The riffs are total street, meeting somewhere between a cycle's spinning rubber and the pavement to make that cloud of hellacious smoke, choking out all traces of wimp rock in its wake. It's muscle and power driven metal ramped up with chugging dynamics to make you cuss in delight as you break your freakin' neck.

Vocalist Josh Gibson is a rare breed of aggressive vocalists who could fit in a wide gamut of various heavy music genres, including 80's glam, LA street rock, traditional metal, or balls-out, head banging thrash. Calling Gibson versatile is an understatement, and the fact that this guy has the vocal pipes to send even the most thrashiest thrasher in all of thrashdom vocalists home to cry in their soup kicks KILL RITUAL'S musical cred up quite a few notches.

Listen to their available songs below and then hit them up on Facebook here.

West Phoenix thrashers PENTOMIC claim they are "attempting to mesh all that they like for a more original sound." On most counts they succeed, offering up more than your standard e-string galloping thrash.

Under the thrash and catchy punk-influenced riffs, you can hear waves of stadium rock, groove, and alt metal. Pentomic produces music that rarely loses interest through its journey of hard, heavy, strange, and the utterly fantastic, and fans of various genres of metal should find something to latch onto with this band.

Take heed: Those checking out Pentomic's tunes cannot simply listen to snippets of songs, nor can one listen to only a single song to get this band's whole story.

Listen a couple tunes below. If you dig the music, they made their songs available as a FREE download here. Afterward, if you have a Facebook account, go "like" the band here.

Special thanks goes to Sonni Sørensen for bringing my attention to PESSIMIST. These German thrashers crank out some very cool and catchy thrash metal. Their album Call to War contains some of the most head-moving riffs I've heard in a while (Sons of Satan), combining those with hammering gut punches of aggression (Infernal Death).

Listen to the tunes below and then catch up with them on Facebook.

A couple bands I wanted to mention before I close out of this post:

More than a few of you have been following the Serbian thrash band NADIMAC. These guys have been bringing the speedy thrash/crossover since their demo release in 2007, afterward releasing two full length albums and a slew of  "splits".

Their most recent album Po Kratkom Postupku (try saying that three times fast) came out in 2011 and contains some harsh crossover gems, ripe for your ear-bleeding listening pleasure.

Do I know what these guys are screaming about? Nope, but face-ripping thrash is still face-ripping thrash, no matter the language.

Listen and like!

The mighty ZOMBIE FIGHTER have released the song Beloth, from their upcoming EP titled Run For Your Life! The tune showcases strong songwriting, all packaged in a mass of tight riffs, sick vocals, and bad-ass guitar solos.

Check out Beloth below and then check out Run For Your Life to be released on May 11th.

I still have a ton of other bands to mention. I WILL get them bit by bit over the next few weeks. After that, I'll have even MORE thrash for you all. It'll NEVER end! Thank God!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

- r. lawrence blake

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Nuklear Infektion - Weapons of Massive Genocide

Portugal's NUKLEAR INFEKTION have been steadily climbing the ladder of progress to finally hammer out the release of their debut EP Weapons of Massive Genocide.

Flying miles past their previous online teaser releases, the songs are rounded out and full of intense energy. The sound on ...Massive Genocide is raw, complete with clipping drums and a slightly muffled mix, but the quality of the actual songs shines through. If the songs rock this hard through the constraints of a seemingly shoestring recording budget, then you know Nuklear Infektion is on the right path.

The guitar work slams out riffage that includes everything from buzz saw grind (not too far removed from early Swedish death without completely stepping foot into that territory) to finger-flying spider riffs with a hefty technical aspect added. The technical input bolsters the energy already on fiery display throughout each song.

Tio's vocal work is just as brutal as the music, summoning a rage that brings to mind gruff versions of Araya and Kevill.

Songs such as the title track and The Dark Passenger are well-orchestrated primal screams of pent-up aggression, built to shatter bones. This is an unrelenting, pounding thrash assault, pure and simple.

As I mentioned, the quality of the songs burst through the relatively meager production, to the point that the sound of the recording becomes a non-issue after repeated listenings. So yes, Nuklear Infektion are on the right path and it's amazing to think that these guys will just get better from here.

Check out the Weapons of Massive Genocide EP preview video below, and if you're interested in obtaining a copy, hit the band up on their Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Insanity Alert and a killer parody song!

Great crossover always has a sense of humor. Case in point is Austria's INSANITY ALERT's parody song Run to the Pit. My God is this song freakin' EPIC.

Please do yourselves a favor and check out the tune below. Afterward, you can download their album First Diagnosis for FREE from their Bandcamp page. Insanity Alert slam out some first-class crossover thrash in the vein of D.R.I., Municipal Waste, and Gama Bomb. Simply awesome.

Taking bands for granted (or how the NWOTM deepened my love for the old-school)

There is always something interesting brewing over at the Gogmagogical Blog. Even when the Gogmeister is posting about a band that I don't particularly care for, I can always relate to something in his witty and insightful write-ups.

A few weeks ago, he posted a review on the new Overkill album The Electric Age (an album which I love). Within his first few sentences, he offered me a plateful of food for thought.

He said,

"I have always taken Overkill for granted. For someone who is less than a devotee, it's pretty easy to do. They were always there, for about as long as I've been buying music, their ubiquitous green logo and bat-winged skull seemingly always available in multiple variations in the "O" section of any record store I visited."

Yes, this also describes me to a T.

However, I could list off many, many bands in place of Overkill that I took for granted - never knowing how much they actually kick large amounts of ass. Sure, I'm catching up on a lot of lost classics now, but it sucks to think about how many years went by without experiencing what some of these bands had to offer when they were first hitting the streets.


If the NWOTM has done anything for me, it has enhanced my appreciation for old-school thrash metal…and this is coming from a guy who lived his teen years in the 80s.

My love for many of the new school bands made me want to invest more time in those who influenced them. In turn, my research and collecting of old-school goodies was a fantastic trip down memory lane, obtaining many CDs I used to have on tape or that I listened to many times over at my friends' houses as a kid.

Also, I got to hear some thrash classics for the first time and purposely sought out bad-ass album covers I remember staring at in the local record store (Hello, Kreator's Out of the Dark!).

I firmly believe that the NWOTM is also giving its young fans the urge to check out the old-school, so hopefully this thought will pacify the angry thrash purists just a little bit.

But back to the statements made by Gogmagogical. What bands did you take (or are taking) for granted? Is there a band you have read about or a killer album cover you saw that piqued your interest, but never checked them out (thus having no clue whether or not they are completely freakin' bad-ass)?

It's unavoidable, I guess. There are simply way too many bands to keep track and we all only have so many hours in the day. However, if there is a band that has been sticking out enough for you to notice them, for God's sake check them out! It will suck to "discover" them 20 years later and say, "Damn, I missed out!"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trial By Terror ROCKS!

Let's jump into a bit of hard-edged old-school worship with NY's Trial By Terror!

On their Facebook page, the members claim to be "alcoholics that love to play music." Apparently the effects of alcohol have not hampered their abilities to write some kick-ass thrash metal.

With speedy riffs and vocal delivery that evoke Slayer while adding in their own gut-punching nuances. Between the neck breaking riffs and commanding vocals are galloping jams of rolling aggression and atmosphere that round out Trial By Terror's musical chops.

Yes, they rock, and best of all, they are offering up their song as a FREE download. Listen to a couple of them below, download them here and then hit them up on Facebook.

Friday, April 20, 2012

We're BACK! New thrash featuring Hell's Thrash Horsemen, The Insurgence, Head in a Jar, Exercium, free downloads, and MORE!

Okay, we are BACK! The thrash world keeps a-turning, and so much has happened during my month-long hiatus. Let my typing fingers run off for a moment before I slice into the meat of the post.

First of all, the deal between Ultimhate Records and Norwegian thrashers TANTARA fell through for reasons unknown to those outside the band's circle. Needless to say, their debut album Based on Evil has still not been released, leaving the fans starving for new Tantara tunes (meaning they must go back and wear out those killer demos).

We're all awaiting word on the new deal Tantara supposedly has in the works. If you have read my review of Based on Evil, you know how much I love this album, and it's going to be a great day when I can either hit the store or impatiently wait for mail order to get my hands on a true-to-life hard copy of Based on f'n EVIL.

Second and third major bad ass happenstances are the releases of Overkill's The Electric Age and Municipal Waste's The Fatal Feast. Admittedly, I have yet to dive into The Fatal Feast, but it will have it's time to make my ears bleed soon enough.

The same can't be said for The Electric Age which I have been continuously blasting since the day I bought it. THIS is pure-blooded METAL. A non-stop barrage of ass-kickings that I plan to experience live at Killfest next week.

Meanwhile, many of us are tapping our feet waiting for Lich King's Born of the Bomb and Insinnerator's Hypothermia albums to surface. So while we wait for their inevitable releases to kick in our teeth, I have a ton of goodies for you all to check out. This is going to be a long-ass post, but you may as well stick around. What else do you have to do other than read about some killer thrash bands?

Let's get started!

There will always be bands out there that fly under my radar, but my internet searching skills are keen as an eagle eye, and eventually kick-ass bands from all over the world will be discovered.

One such band is Russia's HELL'S THRASH HORSEMEN. These dudes formed in 2007 and released their first ep titled …Till Violence in 2009. The debut ep is good, offering up stomping riffs that drive up your spine to put pressure on that headbanging nerve.

However, on their following releases, 2010's Going Sane and 2012's "DEMO 2012" take the songwriting up a notch, mowing the listener over with furious riffage and rolling thrash tempos that brings to mind a harsh mix of Overkill and Gama Bomb.

Hell's Thrash Horsemen get meaner and better with each release. The bonus is that you can get each of their releases for CHEAP on their Bandcamp page.

Listen below and then check them out here.


In case you didn't know, New York deathrashers LEGIONARY have finally unleashed their beast of an album titled Arcane Divisions on iTunes. I have heard it and it crushes. I will give my thoughts on this slab of killer metal in an upcoming post. Meanwhile, check out their tune below and hit them up on Facebook here.


On the punk side of the thrash spectrum, we have Seattle, WA's THE INSURGENCE. These guys offer up a three point punch to the throat with heavy doses of rockin' punk, aggressive hardcore, and searing crossover thrash. With teeth-gritting, fist-pumping angst, The Insurgence deliver the goods on their Never Surrender EP and their self-titled full-length.

Listen below, pick up their tunes (digital or hard copy) over on their Bandcamp page, and then keep up with them on Facebook.


Check out the thrashtastic insanity of Finland's own SAKREME. These guys take the old-school Metallica riffing and add hints of Pantera twang (minus the groove) to create some tough-as-nails metal.

The rhythm is chunky and tight, working in the essential dynamics to get the head moving. The fierce post acoustic opening to their song Statue of Imagination should get even the laziest pit to open up and destroy.

Give a listen to the tune below, check out some of their tunes on SoundCloud, and if you dig it, buy it on iTunes. Afterward, hit them up here.


Hey! STRIKING DEATH recently released the song Save a Skater, Drain a Pool. The vocals are delivered in an old-school crossover manner, with lyrics that go from goofy to disturbing (or goofy to even MORE goofy, depending on your outlook).

In any case, this is another fine thrashing tune to stab into your ears. Listen below and check out Striking Death here!


Austrailian thrash heavyweights 4ARM are finally dipping their collective toes into North America, so far playing three different shows…all in California. Will there be more U.S. dates coming? I don't know, but I hope so (of course)!

Check the dates here and then watch the video for their killer tune Raise a Fist below.


From Belgium we have the band PREMATORY, featuring a batch of young dudes who know how to thrash it up! Formed in 2007 when the members were all within the same age of 15! In 2010, after a well-recieved demo, they released their first full length album titled Suiciety.

Prematory fits most of their tunes around mid-paced rhythms and riffs that would mix well with traditional metal as well as thrash. Vocalist Simon Duson belts it out with a style similar (although not identical) to Lemmy with hints of Mustaine.

Suiciety is a damn good start for Prematory and I can only imagine that these guys will get better and better with age and experience, so needless to say, I am hyped to hear their next offering.

As for you, check out the tune below and then go like 'em on Facebook.


Now to go off the charts a bit and check out a band that weaves all kinds off aggressive genres into their music. Thrash, groove, rock, death, and bits of NOLA riffage twists throughout each of WESTERN DEAD's tunes, working them into worthy slabs of pure bad-assery.

Vocalist Robin Stevens summons a mixture of Al Jourgensen and Joel Grind, using his gravelly vocals to roll out with spot-on dynamics to effortlessly fit the songs, making them even better than they already are.

Western Dead may not be a thrash purist's cup of tea, but for those who like heavy music in general definitely need to check these guys out.

Listen below and head over to their Facebook page to say "Howdy".


Another kick-ass Australian thrash band HEAD IN A JAR released their new video for for the song based on the band's name. If that wasn't cool enough, they have also made their Atomic Circus EP available as a FREE freakin' download! It's like a double gift of pure awesome.

Watch the vid below, get Atomic Circus here for free, and then keep tabs on Head in a Jar here!


Speaking of FREE metal, I have a handful of bands that are offering up their hard work for your thrashing pleasure.

EXERCIUM from Portugal have risen up to destroy society with their 3-song EP (aptly titled) Destruction of Society! These thrashers wallop the listener with galloping riffs and harsh hooks. Is the music reinventing the unicycle? No, but who cares? Exercium set out to write some tight, pit worthy thrash, and they succeed on all counts. Besides, the rhythms these guys come up with are pure gold - not overtly complex, but just enough to get the metal juggernaut moving full force.

Did that make sense?

Anyway, listen below, go download Destruction of Society for free, and then Facebook 'em here.


SEWERCIDE have been making the blog rounds lately, and they rightfully SHOULD. These guys are yet another Australian thrash band that utterly rules. Their 2-song EP titled Severe Trauma is unbelievably harsh and catchy, bringing forth an onslaught of searing thrash that could give Warbringer a run for the money. Scoff if you will, but go download Severe Trauma here for FREE and let the bludgeoning begin!

After that, go here to ask them for more!


You have to admit that Brazil is no slouch when it comes to metal. So when I came across Brazil's own deathrashers BONEBREAKER, I was hyped to see that they have compiled all their demo songs into one kick-ass download…for free! How these guys manage to sound so unbelievably evil while singing about a beer tsunami is beyond me, but it works to the most ass-kicking degree. I love the riffs these guys string together mixed with the bloodthirsty angst brought forth in the vocals.

Click over to their Bandcamp page to get a free dose of thrashing insanity and then keep up with these crazy-ass Brazilians here.


Okay, I have to stop here. I could go on and on, but then I would never get this damn post published. I have a TON of other stuff for you all, so hopefully I can get more to you within the coming week.

Stay metal!

- r. lawrence blake
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