By 1990, the Thrash scene was dying on its feet. The cracks had been apparent since the previous year, but by ’90, a large number of bands were beginning to call it a day, leaving only the biggest and most adaptable to survive in a depressingly thinning field. While some faded away, losing fans by continually retreading old ground, others tried to incorporate more diverse elements such as Jazz and Funk, hoping to save themselves by appealing to a slightly different audience. Unfortunately, with the Grunge and Alternative scenes banging down the door it was clear the game was up. So around 1992, and barring a few notable exceptions (there are always exceptions), Thrash was essentially coaxed into its little wicker basket for a final, one way trip to the vets where, due to an unfortunate clerical error, it would eventually end up being buried in the same plot as the Glam Metal scene at a nearby Pet Sematary.
Music trends tend to come in cycles though, and in good old-fashioned zombie movie tradition, sometime around 2004 the decomposed corpse of Thrash was exhumed and re-animated. The Destruction t-shirts and bullet belts came back, but things weren’t the same. Even at its height, the UK’s contribution to the global Thrash scene barely amounted to a fistful of select names, but during this recent revival, quite tellingly, there have been even fewer of any real note. In fact, only two names have stood out. One begins with an E, and the other is Gama Bomb.
Formed in 2002 and following three strict self-imposed rules (no clean guitars, no ballads and no synths), Gama Bomb delivered their first album in 2005, the independently released Survival of the Fastest to positive reviews. Citizen Brain,Tales From the Grave in Space (both Earache) and The Terror Tapes (AFM) followed, while the band established themselves as a consistently entertaining live act.
New album Untouchable Glory (AFM) follows the fast and thrashy Gama Bomb blueprint to the letter. Every song has fast riffs, fast drums, fast vocals, and every song sounds like it’s racing you to the end. Unfortunately, every song also seems to just blend into the next one. There aren’t actually any bad songs on Untouchable Glory, but there just aren’t any great ones either. Opener ‘Ninja Untouchables/Untouchable Glory’ and the wonderfully ’80s sounding ‘Ride The Night’ are the best of the bunch as they actually contain something memorable – some brilliant Kung Fu backing vocals on the former and a top class chorus on the latter. ‘Witching Mania’ is another quality track, but overall there’s nothing that will immediately stick in the memory. Dedicated fans will undoubtedly familiarise themselves with the lyrics and be able to recite them perfectly by the time the band play them live, but there’s nothing on Untouchable Glory to come close to the instant catchiness of ‘OCP’, ‘Hammer Slammer’, ‘In the Court of General Zod’ or ‘Bullet Belt’.