In the thirty-two years since the savage double gut-punch of Reign In Blood (DefJam) and Darkness Descends (Combat), the popularity and aesthetic of Thrash Metal has gone on an undulating journey, from the progressive convolutions of …And Justice For All (Vertigo), through the refining and streamlining of a Persistence of Time (Island), to a decade in the wasteland where ideas and delivery effectively choked in the dust of a seemingly redundant style. Resurrection was found in the party Thrash rebirth headed by the likes of Municipal Waste, and then the more fundamental stylings of Evile and the like. But throughout it all, the Metal underground never lost sight of the devastation that 1986 brutality – the extreme edge of Thrash espoused by Dark Angel, Kreator and Sodom – and the effectiveness of vicious riffing, feral vocals and a relentless battery brings, it’s just that nowadays it’s possible to bring the noise to a wider audience.
Slayer are the only band I have ever fallen in love with without hearing a note.
It was in 1994 when I was sixteen – despite growing up in a house full of Rock music I started caring about it quite late. Until fifteen, my only interests were video games, movies and books (initially about dragons, later about eldritch tentacle horrors – I must be one of the few Metal fans who got into Lovecraft before the music), with Rock arriving very suddenly through the surprising medium of Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet (Mercury). From there it was a rapid journey through Guns n’ Roses, Motörhead and Black Sabbath, and then a family friend put Master Of Puppets (Elektra) on and by the time ‘Battery’ had finished I was a different person. Continue reading
It’s the hottest day of the year so far in London and before you start imagining a lovely picture of a sundrenched European capital with happy citizens, joyfully going about their business, well, think again. The heat is cloying and claustrophobic; offices without air conditioning units become like bakers ovens. Everyone is sweaty and grumpy. Everyone it seems with the exception of Testament’s lead vocalist and driving force Chuck Billy. Continue reading
The almighty Slayer released Reign In Blood (Def Jam) on October 7th, 1986, and completely changed the game. The follow-up to 1983’s Show No Mercy (Metal Blade) and 1985’s Hell Awaits (Metal Blade) was highly anticipated by fans all over the world, and the four legends delivered on every level. Reign In Blood immediately became an instant classic in the metal scene, and thirty years later, it’s still considered one of the most important records in the history of heavy metal. Continue reading
I saw Slayer open for W.A.S.P. in a small town in Texas on the Reign in Blood (Def Jam) tour. Slayer was out of hand, I remember blacking out from being crushed in the mosh pit. And then everyone left when W.A.S.P. came on. Blackie Lawless was so pissed! It was the end of the bullshit hair-era and the dawn of thrash!
Thrashers Foreseen have been called “Finland’s answer to Power Trip.” Formed in 2010, the band had only released a few EPs and splits up until now, but with their debut album Helsinki Savagery (20 Buck Spin) they sound more like Finland’s answer to every aggressive thrash outfit ever.
Mainly labelled as a Crossover Thrash band, Foreseen combine Slayer-like speed and aggression with stomping hardcore. If you like Municipal Waste but feel the vocals aren’t ferocious enough, these guys are just up your street. It’s aggressive, raw, and full of circle pit inducing headbangers. Anyone who wears patches on their denim vests and claims to like 80s metal should enjoy this.
Instrumental opener ‘Slam Savagery’ combines Reign In Blood (Def Jam) era shredding with early Megadeth-levels of guitar histrionics. ‘Death Injection’ is a high octane slab of brutality, featuring rasping vocals, gang shoutalongs and stomping breakdowns. Whether it’s the squealing ‘Market Target’ or the slower brutality of ‘Structural Oppression,’ there’s very little let up.
Foreseen took a look at 80s thrash and condensed it down to 40 minutes of snarling, shredding and solos. Individually, there’s not a weak song among the lot. Tracks toward the end – ‘Delusion of No Consequence,’ Paving The Way’ – are filled with the same levels of urgency and searing goodness as the opening numbers. The only criticisms you can throw at the album is the lack of variety. While it’s a formula that works, there’s almost no deviation from the standard thrash blueprint. But why fix what isn’t broken?
There’s little, if anything, that hasn’t come before in the realm of thrash metal. Luckily crossover hasn’t been played over and over to death, and Foreseen do enough to avoid sounding hackneyed. They might not be too subtle about hiding their influences, but the energy they put into in the record makes Helsinki Savagery a great record for banging your head to.