StaticTension has knocked it out of the park with yet another cover! Watch them cover Soundgarden’s ‘Burden In My Hand’ from Down On The Upside, featuring Yuda Kasva. That album just turned 25 years as the three year anniversary of Chris Cornell’s death just passed. Static Tension’s current album Ashes To Animation (Buried By Sky) is out now.
When they are not busy promoting their recent albumAshes to Animation, (Buried By Sky Records),Static Tension has been killing it lately with their covers on YouTube. Check out their cover of Metallica’s 1980s thrash classic ‘Blackened’ from their album …And Justice For All All (Elektra Records).Continue reading →
There are some great ideas and passages on Static Tension’sAshes To Animation (Buried By Sky). A marriage of Grunge, Alternative Rock, elements of Prog and a smattering of Stoner and Trouble’d Doom, the bands’ first full-length is an interesting proposition; a hotchpotch of ideas pulled in from The Doors to Metallica, but mainly operating a Progressive Grunge arena.Continue reading →
With 2018 coming to a close, Greg Blachman and Rob Rom of Static Tension took some time to collectively reflect on their Top 10 releases of the year. The below are their picks, listed in no particular order.Continue reading →
We’ve followed the career of Ohio rockers Static Tension closely, and have always come away impressed. Heavy and modern, the band brings their influences (Soundgarden, Black Sabbath, AIC, Mastodon) together and creates something timeless. Their full-length debut, Ashes To Animation, is releasing next month, Check out their new song ‘Blank Silhouette’, only at Ghost Cult!Continue reading →
Nashville, Tennessee is more traditionally known as the home of country music. But it’s also home to Season of Arrows, a Female-fronted doom outfit with a real knack for mixing swampy grooves with classic Heavy Metal Doom sensibilities.Continue reading →
Hailing from Los Angeles, Tormenter(with an e, not an o) had an album and two EP’s under their belt ahead of Static Tension picking up sophomore album Prophetic Deceiver, which was originally self-released at the tail end of last year. And, fair play to them, they’ve picked up an album laden with quality non-cliché thrash, and while the band had previously flown under the radar, this is definitely a release that deserves to be promoted and pushed.
While Biotoxic Warfare may have already stolen the prize of this year’s surprise thrash package, Tormenter nevertheless have a very worthwhile product on their hands. Steeped in the aggressive tropes of Kreator, with the throaty barks of Carlos Rodelo adding the sharpest of teeth to the whirl of riffs and taut precision of Thomas Bonilla’s percussion, a further ace in the hole is Kory Alvarez and his Steve di Giorgio styled bass walks augmenting the sound with class.
The spirit of Schuldiner presides throughout, ingrained in the violence, an intrinsic and regular marker, but it is in the ball park of German thrashery and less staccato, more progressive music that Tormenter play, with Beneath The Remains (Roadrunner) a ready comparator. In amongst some lock-jaw, rhythmic right-wrist pace songs loop off with 80’s Megadeth melodic fish-hooks before lurching into the crunch, and there are several welcome moments of diversity. Other tracks are spiky, technical numbers with more than an off-beat nod to the Scandinavian grind of the early 90’s.
That said, considering the seriousness and attack of the music, it’s a shame Tormenter have such a stock name and album cover, as the barrage of constricted riffage is serious, caustic and full of intent. Yet, ignoring such peripherals leaves a release that has served not just to, rightly, get Tormenter noticed, but put them firmly on the map. Should they bring something different to the image and visuals, and with further progression and development of their song-writing by working on incorporating more of the …And Justice For All (Vertigo) dark, progressive elements of their sound, Tormenter could make an even bigger impression next time around.
Each track of Body Matter (Static Tension), the second EP from Kansas City’s A Light Within, is a notebook page torn from a collective, containing “substance of a person’s mind, body and soul while their time was spent on Earth”, and such depth of thought is born out in the intelligent post-rock aesthetics the band present along with the overall thematic arc of their music.
A Light Within are keen to inject genuine emotion into their art, and prove they are more than just a cerebral matter, with Kyle Brandt’s voice the most prevalent emotive vehicle.
Behind him is a mixture of clean, spacious guitar interplay from Jeff Irvine and Josh Bennett, and subtle, unobtrusive bass lines from Andy Schiller, who teases subtle grooves and works in and around the space left by Nick Sloan’s airy percussion.
Calling to mind the relaxed, natural unwinding of Kevin Moore’s early work with Chroma Key, and the more relaxed, thoughtful moments of Karnivool, Body Matter does fall foul, though, of that most abundant of post-rock barriers; the thin line between true transcendent inclusion and music that fades into the background. Both ‘Page #22 – No Charge’ and ‘Page #52 – Between Shores’ begin promisingly, with shimmering clean tremolo picking and Brandt’s sensitivity, but with no proper dynamic to them, as with closing epic ‘Page #47-#48 Glaso’ whose stately chords, descending harmonics and sneaky bass line threatens to explode before introverting to a Tool-esque wind down, things meander to an unspectacular close.
A grasp of what post-rock is and does is only part of the trick, and while A Light Within intrinsically add a lilting melancholy and sensitivity to this understanding, what they don’t yet consistently do is add to this beauty the requisite reasons to invest in their music, because it is the songs that don’t quite measure up to everything else. Post-rock asks of its listener to invest; to give of themselves to the tides of the music, and despite some interesting detours, A Light Within currently offer good sections, but not whole songs, which leaves no real lasting reason to repeat the journey.
Separating a cynical copy-cat retro band from one who are reproducing the sounds and styles they deeply and passionately love can be a difficult task – the former approach smacks of creative redundancy, whereas the latter shows a celebration of a style and a desire to add to the legacy. Biotoxic Warfare, you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear, fall resoundingly into the second of those categories, with their joyous revisit of dark thrash on their debut full length, Lobotomized (Static Tension).
There are no prizes for guessing the Greek thrashers main influence (from ‘Chemical…’ to Biotoxic Warfare in, oh, 0.666 moves), but when they deliver the big riffs, with intricate attention to detail, such as the cuts to one guitar to bridge a section, or when to hit the Dave Lombardo double-bass drum groove, it’s easy to think they have sat down and thought to themselves “Slayer have been disappointing for twenty years, let’s write the album we wish they’d made after Seasons In The Abyss” (DefJam).
Indeed, speaking the Slaytanic ones, the album kicks off with the ‘Criminially Insane’ drum beat, though, boo, sadly we don’t get ‘Criminally Insane’. What we do get is a 3 minute intro that lets us know the band aren’t as silly as their throwback name implies, touching on some grade A Chuck Schuldiner riffing and Chris Poland lead phrasing.
The album ladles dark thrash in big servings, and Biotoxic Warfare provide aggressive choppy riffing, spiralling from Dark Angel to Kreator to (pre-Roots, natch) Sepultura (‘Baptised In Blood & Greed’ in particular showing some well-crafted Beneath The Remains (both Roadrunner) worship, before adding some cold Dissection bite in the form of ‘Dysphoric Reality’, which also possesses some big chugs, a big bridging groove, and some di Giorgio esque bass plunking cutting through.
When thrash made its throwback comeback with a plethora of idiots in radioactive shorts, it was easy to overlook the valid and vital contribution of the good hard, chunky, aggressive and serious mid-to-late 80’s thrash that Biotoxic Warfare have lovingly and fervently recreated, and rather than apeing a bygone genre, have added to in a most febrile and welcome fashion.
From the cover of their new album – a zombie priest cradling a mutated octo-baby above a church font filled with radioactive goo – it’s easy to have plenty of preconceptions about Reign of Fury’s second album, Death Be Thy Shepherd (Static Tension); chief among them that it will sound like Toxic Holocaust or Municipal Waste.
But looks can be deceiving and the UK-based Melo-thrash quintet definitely value a catchy hook and clean vocal above Slayer-like shredding. There’s no shortage of heavy riffs, but the band has far more in common with the likes of Iron Maiden and the NWOBHM than the Bay Area or any Thrash-revivalists.
There’s still plenty of bite – this isn’t a cheesy Swedish retro-metal record – but this isn’t for people who like their thrash gritty. ‘Harbinger of Decay’ has some definite Maiden references – especially in BisonSteed’s Bruce Dickinson-esque phrasing during the verses, ‘Hypnotise The Masses’ and “The Love of a Dying God’ have an aura of early 90s Megadeth and classic Anthrax. Guitarists Fury and Bielby know their stuff and aren’t afraid to show off their ability to interplay throughout a song. ‘All is Lost’ starts as a slow ballad Metallica would have been proud of before the second half introduces some nice twin guitar solos and harmonies.
As well as melody, the band have some progressive ambitions; only one of the album’s eight tracks clock in under six minutes long yet the band play with such energy you don’t really notice. As with most thrash and heavy metal outfits, the majority of the album is repackaging familiar sounding riffs with some new hooks. It’s no bad thing – Reign of Fury have plenty of catchy choruses, ambition and a vault full of quality riffs at their disposal.
Historically, UK Thrash has never been much to shout about. Reign of Fury haven’t really changed that, but in Death Be Thy Shepherd they have a pretty decent modern heavy metal record that pays tribute to the classics but brings plenty of energy to the proceedings.