Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blackened "Underground Attack"

    The global thrash metal scene is alive and kicking! There are bands from all around the world creating heavy thrashing riffs that stir up mosh pits and get the people in the front row head banging.
    Coming from Brazil, Blackened, adds themselves to the worldwide thrash ranks with their six song EP, “Underground Attack.” The band draws influence from the classic eighties thrash scene and adds in a modern crossover kick to the face. Just imagine the chaotic frenzy of DRI mixed with the unapologetic attitude of Exodus. For a young band these guys know how to play their instruments well and write some wicked sounding lyrics. The music sounds really tight and the songs contain great levels of pure thrash energy.
    The opening instrumental track, “Starting the Chaos,” begins with a thunderous guitar and drum attack. After some crazy drum fills, the band launches into the mosh forming madness. The second track, “Underground Attack,” is a triumphant sounding piece of crossover thrash that has the speed of punk and attitude of metal. Following the relentless thrashing second track, the band begins song number three, “Extreme Violence,” with an Iron Maiden like bass introduction. Soon the bass fades and the heavy guitar riff assault starts tearing away. The singer provides a fierce energetic vocal delivery that perfectly compliments the explosive sounding music.
    Just as the first three songs celebrated the legacy of thrash with a ferocious edge, the last three do not let up or become repetitious. The fourth song, “Psychopath,” sounds like something out of the Bay Area thrash scene. Track number five, “Third World,” demonstrates how thrash musicians can write thoughtful songs that comment of societal issues. Unlike some artists who can only write songs about screwing around in the back of a car on a Friday night, thrash bands like Blackened show a level of musical maturity and intelligence. The final song, “TxNxDx (Thrash Never Dies),” is a bold and confident statement to the rest of the music world. From the passionate vocal delivery, to the insane double bass drum attack and to the distorted screaming old school sounding guitar solo, this song is proof that thrash is alive and kicking.
    Some metal critics might argue that there are too many revival crossover thrash type bands around, but I would say that some of those young bands are worth hearing, because they play just as good as some of those eighties metal bands do now. Also, the young thrashers tend to not have inflated egos like certain older metal artists who I will not name. Overall, Blackened did not disappoint on this release and they sounded solid. Once they release a full-length album, I would not hesitate in getting a copy. If you are a fan of old school thrash played by young musicians who offer that modern shot in the arm, you should definitely check out Blackened. The band’s last song is very true, thrash never dies, because the young bands shall continue the great legacy that was set forth by groups such as Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Overkill, DRI, Whiplash, Testament, Megadeth, Anthrax, Powerlord, Nuclear Assault, Toxik...I can go on and on...

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Frosthelm "The Endless Winter"

    From the endless cold barren lands of North Dakota, comes a band with plenty of pent up aggression that probably comes out of living in a harsh cold environment.
    Frosthelm covers listeners in a thick layer of chilling distorted chaos with their debut full-length release, “The Endless Winter.” This blackened thrash group never offers listeners a dull moment. The compositions are vicious and yet, the incorporation of acoustic guitar riffs gives this album a creative and unpredictable sound. When listening to the album one might find themselves lost in a blizzard of relentless black/thrash guitar riffs with echoes of intense blast beats covering the landscape. The band’s singer strengthens their extreme sound by laying down unapologetic abrasive vocals that demand your attention. Overall, this album keeps listeners on the edge of their music playing devices.
    The beginning of this album really hooked me in, and it instantly peaked my interest. For their first song, “Glacial Eon,” the band’s guitarist presents a soothing sounding acoustic piece. This calm acoustic atmosphere soon fades away and sets up the second song, “Storm of Teeth.” Compared to the first song’s calm effect, a massive heavily distorted guitar riff assault instantly begins to take form. The music pauses for a moment and an audio clip from the movie Hellraiser can be heard, adding a sinister touch to the song. As the cold sounding black metal instrumental arrangement is ferociously tearing away, the singer expresses harsh sounding lyrics with a forceful growl. Track number three, “Forlorn Tides,” continues the extreme frost themed sounding music of despair. Frosthelm’s overall sound is amplified to another level by the drummer’s insane blast beats.
    Now, the band does alter their sound on this album to give listeners a variety of intense compositions. During song number four, “Tomb of Sordid Ruin,” the band decreases the tempo for a bit to create a slow crushing main rhythm that maintains this level of unpredictability. The following tracks continue the black/thrash metal attack and even offer up some heavy grooving rhythms.
    Frosthelm makes sure to effectively demonstrate their musical talents and the band always finds different ways of introducing their style of extreme metal. Track number eight, “The Dragon,” begins with an ominous sounding guitar arrangement. Again, the band does not hesitate and feverishly jumps into a wicked sounding extreme instrumental jam. The final song on this album, “Silent and Dark, the Everlasting,” is one of my favorites on the album. I like how the band develops the music throughout the song and the track fades out with a solemn sounding acoustic guitar riff.
    From how this album was recorded to the musical arrangements, I can’t find a weak moment. Frosthelm really put passion and great work into making this album. “The Endless Winter,” is highly recommend for fans of extreme black/thrash who are looking for a release to keep them engaged until the final song. Just like a unforgiving winter storm, Frosthelm will blanket the world around you with cold chaotic winds and leave listeners in a state of shock, as if they are standing alone on a frozen tundra of black/thrash mayhem.