Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekend Breakdown: Besieged and Leech

Brutal, brutal, BRUTAL. Winnipeg's BESIEGED hit that sickening sweet spot of kick-ass death-tinged thrash metal, making me shake my head in ecstatic disbelief. As I listen to their debut album Victims Beyond All Help, I am blown away by the sheer power of each song, belted out with uncompromising ferocity in attitude as well as musical competence.

Battering my ears with unmercifully fast riffs and bloodthirsty vocals, Besieged brilliantly intertwines the old-school deathrash of early-era Sepultura with the frenzied brutality of Demolition Hammer and Guillotine. Offering no time to catch one's breath, the band's debut storms the listener with thrash metal that sounds fresh as it does violently PISSED…you know, as it should be!

Indie label Unspeakable Axe will reissue Victims Beyond All Help on July 9th (it was previously self-released by the band), and if they can afford the band substantial reach within the metal community, I believe we'll see this album on quite a few "Best Of" lists for 2013.

Damn. Good. Metal.

Listen to the tracks below and then hit them up on Facebook.

LEECH, a New York metal band, utilizes many influences to solidify a sound that is absolutely face-melting. And I love to have my face melted!

The blend of east coast thrash and hardcore is brought to life with a strong injection of crushing Swedish death metal (sans the "buzzsaw" sound). Leech's merging of these genres sounds natural and effortless, resulting in a most brutal ass-kicking.

Vocalist Christian Geraldino fits Leech's musical delivery like a glove, offering up a touch of hardcore rhythms and gang shouts to complement his throaty thrash and death metal vocal assault.

Leech provides music to which a metal fan can positively RAGE. Wanna rage? Good! Check out the tunes below, download 'em for FREE, and then visit Leech here.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Twisted Wrath ROCKS!

Yeah, I know my blog output has been rather pathetic lately, but I still have my feelers out, listening to tons of killer metal from around the world.

I'm just not writing about it. Blah.

Anyway, I'm stopping in for a quick "how-do-you-do?" and to let you all in on a killer metal band out of Ireland.

TWISTED WRATH is a driving mix of classic heavy metal and thrash. Drawing from a gamut of influences - from Testament to W.A.S.P. to Iron Maiden - these guys pull off some neck-damaging metal.

Vocalist Patrick Fitzgerald strays from the typical thrash bark, opting for a more Blackie Lawless output, and it works well with Twisted Wrath's brand of blended metal.

The guitars are tight, providing the crunch to well-constructed song structures and dynamics, all which could be easily utilized for a sonic face melting. We could all use one of those once in a while.

Twisted Wrath has generously provided their new EP "Madman's Chorus" on their Bandcamp page as a FREE download (or Name Your Price). Get it here.

Those of you who like a like little more old-school metal in your thrash should give these guys a listen. If you like what you hear, let 'em know about it!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jeff Hanneman and the sound of Slayer

Today metal fans across the globe were shocked at the sudden news of Jeff Hanneman's death. Ever since he seemingly disappeared from the public's eye during his bout with necrotizing fasciitis, we still hoped that eventually everything would be back to normal, and we'd have our Slayer back.

New album. New tour. Original members.

After all, Slayer…f*cking SLAYER…is something that is set in stone. Never ending and forever. A pioneering band that not only helped spawn thrash, but created riffs that would in turn create hundreds of bands looking to recreate that sound.

That SOUND. Holy sh*t. You know it when you hear it. The Slayer sound. The four ingredients to that sonic brutality were Araya, Hanneman, King, and Lombardo, all key factors in establishing a solid foundation of metal in its purest form. Bold, scary, and completely kick-ass.

Reign In Blood came out a full year before I gained my thrash wings. I had broke ground as a Slayer fan with South of Heaven, but before I bought the now classic album, I remember being vaguely afraid of Slayer. Afraid? Scared? Okay, that sounds a bit melodramatic, but I definitely saw them as an ominous group of musicians…the kind from which I should probably stay far away.

At least that was my perception at the time. At 15 years-old, I was deep into Metallica, living and breathing Master of Puppets, and had just picked up Suicidal Tendencies' How Will I Laugh Tomorrow…? album. D.R.I.'s 4 of a Kind had hit, and there was no turning back for me. I wanted faster and heavier!

South of Heaven had been released, and I still remained a curious arm-length's distance away. It wasn't until a TV commercial aired, containing a snippet of Slayer playing the album's title track, that made me turn my head and say, "I want that!"

I want that…the Slayer SOUND. Stemming from Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits, perfected with Reign In Blood, and grew to unstoppable proportions with South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss.

Four ingredients. One sound.

The sound that influenced multitudes of thrash and death metal bands. Would early Sepultura sound the same without Slayer? Would the breakdown in Dead Embryonic Cells exist without the blueprint from Raining Blood?

Sorry. Retreading the impact Slayer has on metal would be reiterating the obvious, but it's still hard not to go down that path. However, it's impressive that Slayer remains a viable and thriving influence after 30-plus years. Especially for a type of music that was never intended to achieve more than underground status.

But this type of music did bust out of the underground. After all, we have the Big Four. Some folks look at the "Big Four" concept as a bit cheesy, but I sure as hell don't. The four biggest selling thrash bands from back in the heyday of metal are monuments of what was a f*cking awesome time to be a metal head.

Slayer was one of those four bands. Hanneman, as one of the four members of Slayer, was important to the sound and legacy of thrash metal as we know it today. He will be missed, but the sound he helped create lives stronger than ever today in the many, many bands influenced by Slayer.

Slayer. Set in stone. Never ending and forever.

Thanks for the music, Jeff.

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