ONSLAUGHT — Generation Antichrist (review)

ONSLAUGHT — Generation Antichrist album cover Album · 2020 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Nightfly
Despite being at the forefront of all things metal in the early 80’s with the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” the UK was lagging behind, the USA in particular, when thrash metal broke through with bands like Metallica, Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth and Anthrax to name the obvious contenders taking metal into faster and heavier extremes. One of the few acts around at the time that showed the UK could compete was Onslaught. I first came across them on their second album The Force, when I bought it on vinyl, as far as I remember, based on a review in Kerrang! magazine. I was immediately blown away by opener Let There Be Death from its slow burn opening before exploding full pelt into ferocious riffing and drumming. The album was raw and heavy with a great guitar tone. By the follow up the band had recruited former Grim Reaper vocalist Steve Grimett for 1989’s In Search Of Sanity. It was a slicker affair but lacked the ferocious impact of The Force but still contained some strong material. The band split up in the early 90’s, reforming in the mid 00’s. I must admit to not paying a lot of attention to the bands output from 2007’s Killing Peace, their first since reforming but early indications suggested Generation Antichrist, their fourth since reforming was going to be worth checking out.

I’m glad I did as Generation Antichrist shows the band still have what it takes to make a great thrash metal record. Not surprising, down to modern recording techniques, the album is sharper and tighter than their 80’s output. Thankfully the modern production doesn’t rob the album of its ferocity and they’ve released a thrash metal album stuffed with breakneck speed riffs and drumming. From opener (proper) Strike Fast Strike Hard after the short intro Rise To Power the pace rarely lets up. The quality of song writing is strong throughout as is the playing. These days only guitarist Nige Rockett remains from the original line up and bassist Jeff Williams is the only member who played on their last studio album, 2013’s VI. Rockett has recruited a strong band however including vocalist David Garnett who delivers a convincingly raw and aggressive performance and a special mention to new drummer James Perry who is relentlessly fast, tight, powerful and skilful in equal measures. Musically there’s nothing ground-breaking here, and you wouldn’t particularly expect it, but Onslaught have made a totally convincing album with no shortage of killer riffs equal to the new kids on the block and their 80’s contemporaries still in the game alike.

Generation Antichrist is a very welcome return from Onslaught and put me in the mood for checking out those other post-reformation albums more fully. They’ll have to go some to be better than this though. This might just be the best album of their career.
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Nightfly wrote:
4 months ago
I know what you mean, despite being a solid act they weren't in the same league ast the best the USA had to offer for sure but I think they can hold their own these days.
Vim Fuego wrote:
4 months ago
I always found Onslaught to be rated higher than they deserved simply because they were rated the best of what the UK had to offer in the 80s. I'd agree this is the best of their post-reformation efforts.

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