Technical Thrash Metal

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CORONER No More Color Album Cover No More Color
CORONER
4.37 | 43 ratings
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VOIVOD Dimension Hatröss Album Cover Dimension Hatröss
VOIVOD
4.34 | 52 ratings
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VEKTOR Terminal Redux Album Cover Terminal Redux
VEKTOR
4.30 | 28 ratings
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CRYPTOSIS Bionic Swarm Album Cover Bionic Swarm
CRYPTOSIS
4.43 | 9 ratings
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MEKONG DELTA Dances of Death (And Other Walking Shadows) Album Cover Dances of Death (And Other Walking Shadows)
MEKONG DELTA
4.33 | 12 ratings
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VEKTOR Outer Isolation Album Cover Outer Isolation
VEKTOR
4.19 | 41 ratings
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VOIVOD Killing Technology Album Cover Killing Technology
VOIVOD
4.18 | 45 ratings
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MADROST The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh Album Cover The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh
MADROST
4.38 | 8 ratings
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WATCHTOWER Control And Resistance Album Cover Control And Resistance
WATCHTOWER
4.18 | 29 ratings
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CORONER Mental Vortex Album Cover Mental Vortex
CORONER
4.15 | 35 ratings
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VEKTOR Black Future Album Cover Black Future
VEKTOR
4.09 | 45 ratings
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MEKONG DELTA Lurking Fear Album Cover Lurking Fear
MEKONG DELTA
4.25 | 8 ratings
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HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE Overtaker

Album · 2022 · Technical Thrash Metal
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siLLy puPPy
A true San Francisco original, HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE you never know what you’re gonna get with a new album as musical steelworkers forest molten metal into various shapes and forms. One thing is for sure and that is that each album sounds a bit familiar yet rather distinct and the party never seems to end as this musical project has been around for more than a quarter of a century if you count the days as Unholy Cadaver that is. Essentially the brainchild of guitarist / vocalist John Cobbett of Slough Feg, Ludicra and VHOL, this band has been hammering out exquisitely original metal since it’s blackened folk metal debut “The Bastard: A Tale Told In Three Acts” all the way back in 2001.

A true juggling act of eclecticism, HAMMERS has sallied forth onto the metal battlefield with an arsenal of sound effects and stylistic creativity. Ranging from trad NWOBHM and psych fueled hard rock of the 70s to blackened folk metal and technical thrash, this band and its rotating cast of characters never ceases to amaze with a new spin on its rather distinctly brash yet melodic ambit of colorful cleverness. Just when fans thought the band was down and out and devoid of any life, along comes OVERTAKER, the seventh release a mere six years after “Dead Revolution” took the band into a more energetic direction with technical thrash metal bombast as the canvass to paint upon.

Always one to take the path least tread, Cobbett continues down he path of “Dead Revolution” into the hybridizing orgy of technical thrash metal with an unholy threesome of progressive rock and psychedelia. Gone are the airy folk elements of yore and in are damaging stampedes of decibelage and uncompromising speed metal leanings bringing a bit of 80s excess to the world of creative complexity. Psychedelic thrash metal hasn’t exactly been a huge thing but that’s exactly where HAMMERS takes the deep plunge with OVERTAKER. Wasting no time getting to the point, the title track openings with a thunderous roar with galloping guitar riffs pummeling the senses like a war of the gods replete with chariots of fire lambasting the serene placidity of contentment leaving all but the adventurous listener along for the wild ride.

In many ways this album is like a family reunion of sort. Ex-bassist / vocalist Jamie Myers (now of Sabbath Assembly) is back and sounding like a she-demon exhaling flames of passion as she shreds her vox box as if she’s exorcising demonic forces. So too does former guitarist Mike Scalzi also of Slough Feg join in for a couple vocal performances. Other than keyboard wizard Sigrid Sheie, this rendition of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE is a completely new beast with none other than drummer Blake Anderson and bassist Frank Chin from the tech thrash powerhouse band Vektor. No wonder this album is an Earth-scorcher. Ironically the keys point to classic Deep Purple which makes this sound like Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord have had their consciousness downloaded into more youthful thrash metal devotees. A strange yet satisfying mix indeed.

This album proceeds at a breakneck pace thrashing and flailing about like a wounded dragon spitting fire storms. There are fleeting moments of psychedelic dominance however. You know, nice little rest stops during a dreaded battle between forces. “Don’t Follow The Lights” offers an intro and outro of downtime as well as some trippy key action in the middle. Since prog rock is a key element into the entire HAMMERS playbook, of course off-kilter time signature freakouts punctuate the thrashy insouciance that only unrelents for the occasional neoclassical gymnastics or metal exit stage-lefting. Add some mellotrons and Hammond B3 and you have a recipe for the most bizarrely performed thrash metal album since well, i guess ever! Almost like a clash of the titans moment here. Thrash metal, prog rock, psychedelia, female vocal classic rock. Better than i was hoping for! HAMMER on, people!

DEATHROW Deception Ignored

Album · 1988 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Deception Ignored" is the 3rd full-length studio album by German thrash metal act Deathrow. The album was released through Noise Records in January 1988. It´s the successor to "Raging Steel" from 1987 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Thomas Priebe has been replaced by Uwe Osterlehner.

I don´t know if it´s the addition of Osterlehner to the lineup or if it was just a desire to evolve and change their sound, but "Deception Ignored" sounds vastly different from the two thrash/speed metal albums which preceded it. Deathrow have opted for a much more technical oriented thrash metal style on "Deception Ignored", and the tracks are generally pretty complex in structure featuring many different sections. Other than the slight German accent of lead vocalist/bassist Milo, it´s not audible that this is a German thrash metal band playing at all. The music has a distinct US feel to it, and is closer in style to US technical thrash/speed metal acts like Realm, Toxik, and Watchtower, than to contemporary German thrash metal artists like Kreator and Sodom. So it´s safe to say the development between "Raging Steel (1987)" and "Deception Ignored" has been very significant. Actually to an extent where it could have been two completely different artists recording the two albums (not completely unlike the major difference in style and sound between "Dreamweaver (Reflections of Our Yesterdays) (1989)" and "Mourning Has Broken (1991)" by contemporary UK thrash/speed metal act Sabbat).

Deathrow are an exceptionally well playing band and the level of technical playing is generally very high on "Deception Ignored". It is the kind of album where your jaw drops a few times during the playing time, because of the dexterity and skill on display. The tracks also feature some very creative songwriting ideas and unconventional twists and turns, which make "Deception Ignored" an intriguing listen throughout. Milo´s vocals are however in part pretty standard raw thrash metal shouting and nothing out of the ordinary for the genre. He gets the job done, but more interesting or distinct sounding vocals could arguably have made the album better, and the thrash metal type vocals end up being one of the weak links of the album. He occasionally sings more high pitched power/progressive metal type vocals, and he shines more when performing those. An example of that vocal style is heard on "Narcotic", where the vocals are more impressive. Another slight weakness is the catchiness of the songwriting. Technical playing and complex song structures are great and all, but more catchy moments and a higher memorability factor of the tracks could also have made the album stronger.

Pointing out a couple of weaker features on "Deception Ignored" (and mind you neither the catchiness of the songwriting nor the thrash style vocals are major issues), does not make it a bad quality album by any means though. It is widely regarded a technical thrash metal classic for a reason and it is a high quality album in almost all other departments possible and pretty much a one-of-a-kind release on the contemporary German scene (yeah I know there are other technical German thrash metal acts from that time like Sieges Even and Mekong Delta, but to my ears Deathrow were still a pretty unique case). "Deception Ignored" is nothing less than a mandatory listen for fans of technical 80s thrash metal. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

DECISION D The Last Prostitute

Album · 1995 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"The Last Prostitute" is the third and last full-length studio album by Dutch death/thrash metal act Decision D, before they disbanded in 1995. The album was released through Dark Horse in 1995. It´s the successor to "Moratoria" from 1993. Decision D formed in 1986 and released the "Testimony of Faith" demo in 1990 and the "Testimony on Stage" live demo in 1991 before being signed for the release of their debut full-length studio album "Razón de la muerte" (1992).

Stylistically "The Last Prostitute" features a sound which is a continuation of the technical death/thrash metal style of "Moratoria", but a little more groovy and not quite as complex and focused on technical playing as the successor was. Which should of course not be understood as if "The Last Prostitute" isn´t a technically well played album, featuring loads of tempo changes, technical drumming, sharp technical guitar riffs, and the ever odd vocals by Edwin Ogenio, who seems to have scaled back his most deep death metal growling in favor of a raw thrash metal styled vocal attack (although the growling vocals appear on occasion). He still breaks out in vocal weirdness from time to time, but it´s a little more restrained compared to the vocals on the first two albums.

"The Last Prostitute" is a well produced release, featuring a sound production which helps the material shine. The tracks sound powerful, sharp, and every detail is audible in the mix. "The Last Prostitute" is a technical thrash metal release for those who want to challenge themselves with something a little different. Decision D arguably ended up releasing a couple of pretty unique sounding albums in the genre, and this is one of them. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

DECISION D Moratoria

Album · 1993 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Moratoria" is the second full-length studio album by Dutch death/thrash metal act Decision D. The album was released through Crypta Records in 1993. It´s the successor to "Razón de la muerte" from 1992. Decision D formed in 1986 and released the "Testimony of Faith" demo in 1990 and the "Testimony on Stage" live demo in 1991 before being signed for the release of "Razón de la muerte".

While "Moratoria" continues the blueprint which was laid down on "Razón de la muerte", which is technical thrash metal with death metal traits, the death metal side of their sound has become the dominant one on "Moratoria" where lead vocalist Edwin Ogenio predominantly growls or uses a throaty semi-growling vocal style (but quite a few tracks also features a higher pitched screaming extreme metal vocal style). He occasionally goes completely bananas though with vocal sections which sound like they were recorded at the local bedlam. Screams, moans, singing/talking...etc. It´s a totally schizophrenic vocal delivery (listen to the closing section of "Social Darkness" and the vocals on "Statues of Deliberation" for proof of that). There´s no arguing that the vocals are the more unique feature of the album, but they are pretty surely also very much an aquired taste.

The instrumental part of the music is incredibly well played and the technical level of playing is very high. The tracks have become a little more memorable and concise since the debut and that´s a big plus in my book, as I felt the debut was a little all over the place and therefore inconsistent in the songwriting department. The sound producion on "Moratoria" is powerful, detailed, and well sounding. I´m not a huge fan of the clicky bass sound, but at least the bass is audible. Upon conclusion "Moratoria" is a nice step forward since "Razón de la muerte", and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is fully deserved (and maybe even a little too low).

DECISION D Razón De La Muerte

Album · 1992 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Razón de la muerte" is the debut full-length studio album by Dutch thrash metal act Decision D. The album was released through Crypta Records in 1992. Decision D formed in 1986 and released the "Testimony of Faith" demo in 1990 and the "Testimony on Stage" live demo in 1991 before being signed for the release of "Razón de la muerte".

The first track of the album "Diabolic Shadow" opens with the lyric line "Satan, we come against you in the name of jesus christ" and ends with the line "Fear god and give him glory because the hour of his judgement has come Worship him who made heaven and earth.", and that should give the reader a pretty good understanding of the lyrical content of "Razón de la muerte". Needless to say that the lyrics carry a strong Christian message.

Stylistically the music is technical thrash metal with the odd nod towards death metal (I hear more than one nod towards the sludgy heaviness of Morbid Angel, and the technical riffs of Death). The tracks are technically challenging and relatively complex, and the band are very well playing. Lead vocalist Edwin Ogenio has a rather distinct sounding voice and delivery, which are probably an aquired taste. He sings in a raw and sort of desperate sounding staccato thrash metal vocal style, but occassionally a semi-growling death metal grunt is heard.

The sound production is decent for the time with slightly thin trembly guitars, a sharp drum tone, and the vocals up front. Upon conclusion "Razón de la muerte" is a good quality technical thrash metal album (with a few death metal traits), but it´s neither groundbreaking or particularly unique other than the relatively odd sounding vocals. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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