Onslaught – ‘VI’ [6.5]

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After pretty average offerings from across the thrash realm this year from the likes of Annihilator and Sodom, it’s up to our own home-grown veterans to prove its worth. Despite the formula being used so much it’s a surprise it hasn’t faded away, Onslaught have managed to grasp at the remains of the good stuff to create another strong record.

After an eighteen year hiatus, the British legends returned in 2007 with two records full of rage and ‘VI’ follows on without a drop in angst. With new drummer Michael Hourihan in tow and the glossy production of the two former records apparent, Onslaught merge their battering-ram riffs with a few old-school heavy metal licks to create anthem after anthem. ‘Fuelled By Fire’ has the sing-along choruses and the title is apt due to its ferocity, whilst ’66 Fuckin’ 6’ is equally memorable, albeit cliché. The tempo may drop from time to time but the heaviness continues to plough on, as vocalist Sy Keeler grows more reminiscent to an English Angelripper with each album. There are no surprises on this album and this is probably why it sits pretty on top of the other toxic waste the thrash scene has conjured up but whether or not this denim will stay intact for another record is another story.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘VI’ is out now on AFM records

You’ll like this if… you believe that ‘Chaos Is King’ and like your beef matured and British.

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Introducing – Bull Riff Stampede

To go from the unsigned New Blood stage to the SOPHIE Stage at Bloodstock within a year is quite the achievement from an independent band, and one that Bull-Riff Stampede are utterly thrilled by. First forming in 2008, the band predominantly from the South West have been had their current format for a mere year and have ticked off so many boxes on a band’s checklist. Their name is fitting, as their death/thrash metal has spread like wild fire and been trampled into the memories of many.

Their debut album ‘Scatter The Ground’ showcases their blend of all things heavy with a hint of traditional worship and despite BRS’ DIY attitude, you would never guess from the quality. “For us it was the most satisfying way to do it [independently]”, guitarist Jay and bassist Rod explain. “It allowed complete control over the tracking, the mixing, the art work and it’s the best we could possibly achieve at the time. We’re extremely proud of it and we just want everybody to hear it.” In the last few months along, they would have certainly covered a lot of ground, with slots at Hammerfest in March, Wacken Open Air and the second stage at Bloodstock recently, which have been the lads’ favourite gigs by far. “These particular festival billings represent to us the culmination and validation of the hard slog over the past couple of years, setting this band up and getting it out there”, they state. Seeing our name listed on those line-ups, on the same festivals as many of the bands we really look up to and know are kick ass live, it puts us in exactly the right place to give the best show we can. This in turn gives us the chance so many others don’t get, to put our music out the real metal heads who know what they do and don’t like.”

 

Many of their influences played alongside them at Bloodstock, including the likes of Exodus, Slayer and King Diamond and the fact they’re a part of home-grown festival is overwhelming, especially two years running. Despite all this excitement, the band has already completed their second album which Rod and Jay describe as “nasty, gritty and heavy enough to fall from the moon”.  With a tour this May with Beholder, they’ve been able to experiment with the new tracks and all has gone down well, so with the speed there are going at, Bull-Riff Stampede are likely to reach their ambition – “fourth album by 2018 and the Stampede continuing forward.”

 

Feature by Lily Randall

Published on soundshock.com

www.bullriffstampede.com

www.reverbnation.com/bullriffstampede/

https://www.facebook.com/bullriffstampedebandpage

 

Music vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKK8iUwyYB0

Suffocation @ O2 Bar Academy, London

There’s nothing better to flush away those Monday blues than an evening of death metal and if it doesn’t wake you up for the week, you must be dead. What’s more, the fact that the gig has been moved from Islington’s Academy to its smaller brother upstairs cause s further aural devastation and without any explanation as to why this has changed.

Either way, the masses bustle in and are warmed up with a slightly more gentle approach to death metal through openers Fallujah. By using the word gentle, many will cringe in disgust but we use the term lightly as they approach brutality with a progressive approach fuelled with melodies. At times it feels as though the US based metallers have to force the technicality in a hope to be further accepted but regardless the sound is tight despite such a small proximity to play in.

Thrashers Havok have no issue with a tiny space, as they’re used to ripping open intimate shows with their speedy onslaught. Despite being slightly out of place on this line-up the quartet are bursting with an energy that slowly disperses into the crowd. Their sing-along anthems such as ‘D.O.A’ and ‘Covering Fire’ are met with the usual enjoyment as the band thrash through a couple of new tracks from upcoming album ‘Unnatural Selection’. From what is heard, it sounds as though Havok are continuing on with what they know best and neo-thrash shall return.

As expected, if one goes within certain proximity of the Cephalic Carnage dressing room, the stench of weed will seep into your nostrils and it’s pretty much the same story as they walk out of stage. Well known for their love of the dope, the band are full of jokes to try and keep the crowd giggling but their music itself doesn’t seem to get the response desired. Their technical deathgrind is the bizarre brutality experienced on record but the pits aren’t as frequent as predicted and frantic, tinnitus-inducing bass is played alongside ridiculous blastbeats. The setlist is pretty standard, with favourites such as ‘Kill For Weed’ and ‘Raped By an Orb’ with frontman Lenzig’s vocal vomit spewing out for all to embrace. Their usual closer of ‘Black Metal Sabbath’ sees further comedy with black metal piss takes and ensues their final pit for the evening, leaving the band worthy of skulking off for another joint.

When news spread of Frank Mullen being unable to make all Suffocation live shows from now on around the same time of new album ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ was unleashed, it left many in the scene baffled. As promised, the band continued to tour and this visit sees Dying Fetus’ John Gallagher taking the mike responsibilities and being a lot more dynamic on stage than with his usual comrades, perhaps due to the lack of guitar weighing him down. Starting from the “classics” pile, Suffocation relentlessly rip into ‘Thrones of Blood’. They may have been in the game for a quarter of a century now, but the American death metal A-team prove they’re still as brutal as ever with guitarist Terrance Hobbs’ slamming riffs still as relevant as back when they were spawned.

This year’s full length ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ has been hailed as one of their best in recent years and so the band exhibit why with tracks like ‘Purgatorial Punishment’ and ‘My Demise’ causing bodies to flail. At times, the absence of Mullen can be sensed and the hand chop is sorely missed and although Gallagher’s vocals are much deeper, it still does justice to the show and as the Fetus man says himself, ‘Infecting the Crypts’ is likely to have created the whole slam death metal genre. So, what better way to end the show than with an anthem of brutality, loved by many and proving that Suffocation are still the dads of death metal, deserving a larger venue in future.

 

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Introducing Desolator

The neo-thrash trend fronted by the likes of Municipal Waste and Havok may still be booming but there are still many clinging on to the roots of the genre and resurrecting it with equally ancient, scuffed up hi-tops. Cue Southampton based Desolator, who despite only starting two years ago have made quite a name for themselves. The trio made up of Jamie Brooks (vocals/guitar), Felix Dock (bass) and Sam Talbot (drums) love playing fast and Brooks sums it up perfectly. “Speed thrash ‘n’ roll! Thrash for us should be unhinged and fun, stripped down with every instrument being pushed to excite.”

Desolator’s consistent desire to party has done them favours, with a constant flow of gigs opening up around the country, especially thrash all dayers gathering a mental mass of followers. Their first gig was at one of these back in 2011 and despite only having two songs written, the band were invited eager ears. “We couldn’t believe our luck, it was an unbelievable way to start”, recalls Jamie. From then there have been support slots with the likes of Cannibis Corpse, DRI and Sacred Reich, giving the three piece more opportunities to showcase their energetically manic live shows. “Our recent show in Belgium at Thrash Till Deaf was definitely one of the best gigs we’ve been a part of. First time overseas for us, great old school line up & as much beer as we could physically drink!”

On the talks of beer, it’s clear Desolator worship the stuff, with lyrical themes akin to Tankard and the ferocity of Kreator or Whiplash. When asked if the band could survive without the liquid gold, we were left with a perfect lyrical answer – “Our currency is beer, our bank is the bar, Stay out of our way, you fucking rockstar, Alcoholic assault, none of your H2O, Staying sober? We say NO!”

Sodom – ‘Epitome of Torture’ [6]

After recently celebrating 30 years at the top of the thrash table, it’s understandable as to how they have achieved such acclaim. Unlike many of their comrades, the Teutonic troop manages to evolve each album with only slight adaptations, keeping a loyal following and a distinctively fresh sound one album at a time. Fourteen albums in and ‘Epitome of Torture’ is a far cry from the blackened onslaught of their younger years, with melody entwined throughout and this softer approach may be the final straw that causes listeners to screw up their noses in disgust underneath a curtain of messy hair.

Thankfully, the whole album does not follow suit from opener ‘The Final Bullet’, which has such a simple chorus it sounds almost driven by power metal. Once this is over, the rest of the album continues to have an array of catchy, sing-along choruses but the straight up thrash returns with the distinguishing rasps of Tom Angelripper. ‘Cannibal’ is likely to be a favourite ‘Epitome of Torture’ with an approach akin to their self titled album and you find yourself slowly relaxing into the sound you know and love, even if it is lacking in the bite of Sodom’s previous battles. Although fans will find it hard to hate due to a consistently gnarly twinge, overall it’s a disappointing leaving many worrying for the power of thrash in 2013.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

‘Epitome of Torture’ is out April 26th on Steamhammer

You’ll like this if…you refuse to replace your Sodom back patch over a slightly soppy album.

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Cannabis Corpse/Ghoul all dayer, The Underworld, London 9/2/13

Cannabis Corpse/Ghoul – The Underworld, London

It’s fair to assume that a fair few of the fans here today are still fighting off a hangover from the night before with three metal gigs going on in London and with the bands starting mid-afternoon; it’s going to be a marathon of mayhem and beer under a cloud of a certain smoke.

Bristol favourites Seprevation have been a touring machine since winning a slot at Bloodstock last summer and it’s paid off, as the band’s death thrash fusion reeks with old school tendencies. The set is tight and the tracks of EP ‘Ritual Abuse’ sound as beefy live.

Irish thrash punks Visceral Attack are a breath of fresh air with a myriad of aggressive anthems accompanied with their whippersnapper energy. A track about beer gets grins spreading and heads banging.

Despite claiming to be “unable to have fun”, crust punks Bastardhammer are very amusing with their onstage banter and dirty riffs, whilst Cavity Search – London’s answer to Municipal Waste – continue the silliness with some crossover carnage.

By now the Underworld crowd is starting to swell as Living With Disfigurement spew out their nasty old school death metal. A mixture of former Gout members in the band and a sound spilling with gore, the local band receive a great reception,

Everyone starts to carefully choose their spot for Ghoul with the more sensible punters standing back from the stage to avoid any blood stains and pit explosions. The Creepsylvanian mob take a similar stage approach to Gwar, as bizarre characters come out between each song to soak the crowd in baby blood, a dead chicken and other fun frivolities. Their catchy thrash creates a flurry of pits and stage diving, which is interrupted by a troll who eventually joins them. ‘Transmission Zero’ seems to be the focus album of the night with favourites such as ‘Blood Feast’ and ‘Destructor’ leading the way ; however other classics including ‘Maniaxe’ and ‘Splatterthrash’ are also in full force to showcase punky riffs and deathly growls from the masked men and Ghoul confirm their love for humour and horror in style.

There is a genuine waft of weed as Cannabis Corpse finally take to the stage, as the stoners of London congregate under one roof to enjoy some satirical death metal. Despite featuring members from Gwar and Municipal Waste the parody trio stick to a more brutal sound without losing the fun of this evening’s line up with tracks such as ‘Blunted at Birth’ and ‘I Will Smoke You’ getting the most response from the red-eyed mob underneath them. A similar style to Cannibal Corpse is obviously expected, however thanks (we assume to) a large amount of marijuana, the band create a groovy version of the traditional noise and although only three of them gracing the stage, Land Phil and co create the beefiest riffs of the night.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

Published on http://www.soundshock.com

Introducing – Seprevation

Last year saw a slight revival in the legendary sound of old school death metal and it would appear this genre is forever going to influence us. Bristol may not be Florida or Stockholm, but four piece Seprevation are grabbing people’s attention violently with a vintage death/thrash attack. Worshipping the brutality of Morbid Angel, the speed of Sadus and the classic heaviness of Maiden, Seprevation have put a freshly squeezed twist on the subgenre and live they have the same energy as the eighties. “Our music will either make you want to drink a beer and headbang or punch someone in the face”, explains bassist/vocalist Lluc.

Coming from different projects in the south west, the band is completed with Joss and Ian on guitar and Jamie on drums got the opportunity of a lifetime when they were asked to open the New Blood stage on the Sunday of Bloodstock Festival, despite only a year together. “The gig was badass, for 10:30am on a Sunday we couldn’t have asked for a better crowd.” Lluc recalls. “We actually had a circle pit and people seemed really into it. For our festival debut it was an insane experience for us all.” After a year together the Bristol boys have managed to plough through the local scene and have recently released their debut EP ‘Ritual Abuse’ but regardless of the chaos Joss still remembers their first gig clearly. “For me, it was one of my favourite gigs so far, because it was a fresh start from the bands I had done before and it was something which I felt confident in and really wanted to do.”

After recently supporting Onslaught in Portsmouth, it was more proof Seprevation practise what they preach with each song oozing with raw aggression and groovy speed. Supporting a band that had broken free from the Bristol scene and become big names is obviously aspiring for the band. “Sy Keeler is a beast of a vocalist so it was really cool to chat with him about his technique and see him perform. Of course playing with Bristol’s thrash legends was awesome for us too!”

With the new EP slowly creeping into the underground bloodstream, an equally gruesome mini tour awaits Seprevation with fellow extremists Craniation, as well as supporting Flayed Disciple and Arcrania. With a band still as fresh as this the future is bright and the band is looking towards bigger hopes. “Obviously five years is a long time but I’d like to think we would still be on the same path of destruction doing what we do best, creating and performing brutal death thrash for you crazy fuckers!! Hopefully a couple of albums in and a full world tour booked…. one day maybe!”

‘Ritual Abuse’ is out now available here http://www.seprevation.bigcartel.com/ or digital at http://www.seprevation.bandcamp.com/

Find out more at www.seprevation.com

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