Technical Thrash Metal

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VOIVOD Dimension Hatröss Album Cover Dimension Hatröss
VOIVOD
4.27 | 40 ratings
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VEKTOR Terminal Redux Album Cover Terminal Redux
VEKTOR
4.30 | 21 ratings
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CORONER No More Color Album Cover No More Color
CORONER
4.22 | 29 ratings
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VEKTOR Outer Isolation Album Cover Outer Isolation
VEKTOR
4.18 | 35 ratings
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MADROST The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh Album Cover The Essence of Time Matches No Flesh
MADROST
4.41 | 7 ratings
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WATCHTOWER Control And Resistance Album Cover Control And Resistance
WATCHTOWER
4.20 | 26 ratings
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VOIVOD Killing Technology Album Cover Killing Technology
VOIVOD
4.13 | 33 ratings
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VEKTOR Black Future Album Cover Black Future
VEKTOR
4.07 | 37 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
4.17 | 9 ratings
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CORONER Mental Vortex Album Cover Mental Vortex
CORONER
4.07 | 25 ratings
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MEKONG DELTA Lurking Fear Album Cover Lurking Fear
MEKONG DELTA
4.20 | 7 ratings
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INVOCATOR Weave the Apocalypse Album Cover Weave the Apocalypse
INVOCATOR
4.20 | 7 ratings
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Visitations from Enceladus
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CRYPTIC SHIFT
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technical thrash metal Music Reviews

SADUS Out for Blood

Album · 2006 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Out for Blood" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Sadus. The album was released through Mascot Records in February 2006. It features the same lineup, who recorded "Elements of Anger" from 1997 in Darren Travis (guitar, vocals), Steve DiGiorgio (bass, keyboards), and Jon Allen (drums). While 9 years is definitely a long time between album releases, some of the members of the lineup have kept really busy in the intermediate years. Both Drummer Jon Allen and bassist Steve DiGiorgio worked with Testament guitarist Eric Peterson on the Dragonlord black metal project, and DiGiorgio also worked as a session musician on several other projects in those years, including Testament, Control Denied, and Iced Earth (...among others). It seemed at this point that Sadus had become more of a project to the members than a full-time band, and it probably had a lot to do with their lack of commercial success and recognition. The former is not so strange given the relatively extreme nature of the band´s music, but it´s a real shame that they were only ever able to gather a rather small cult following, because the quality of their music has always been pretty high. Sadus are certainly one of those acts who didn´t get what they deserved.

Stylistically the material on "Out for Blood" continues the aggressive and technically well played thrash metal style of "Elements of Anger (1997)". There is good rhythmic variation on the album, so there are both furiously fast-paced thrash metal parts, as well as both slow- and mid-paced grooves in the music (although the latter style is more dominant here). "Elements of Anger (1997)" was quite an atmospheric release too, and while "Out for Blood" is generally not as atmospheric, there are a couple of atmospheric moments on the album (sometimes the subtle use of keyboards/synths provide that), which is great for the variation of the music. Darren Travis sounds as angry as ever, and his distinct sounding snarling vocal style is one of the great assets of Sadus music. He can go from a deep growl to an almost hysterical sounding screaming vocal style in seconds. Mostly he just sounds pissed off and ready to bite your head off.

"Out for Blood" features a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. DiGiorgio´s busy bass is as always placed high in the mix, and it works well and is one of the features of the band´s music which gives Sadus their unique sound. The sharp riffs and powerful organic drumming are worth a mention too. Sadus are a band with a clearly defined sound, and although they´ve developed that sound considerably throughout the years, it´s still unmistakably the sound of Sadus no matter which of their albums you put on. "Out for Blood" overall follows the more groove oriented and heavy direction of it´s predecessor rather than the furiously fast-paced and aggressive direction of the band´s early releases, but that´s only natural if you´ve followed their musical development.

So "Out for Blood" is another high quality release by Sadus, where they continue to develop their trademark sound while still staying true to their roots. Like most of Sadus releases before it, "Out for Blood" went by largely unnoticed and was probably only picked up by their dedicated cult following, so I´m here to advertise that if you´re a fan of technically well played and aggressive thrash metal with a unique sound and pretty good diversity in the songwriting department, "Out for Blood" is worth your time and money. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DROID (ON) Terrestrial Mutations

Album · 2017 · Technical Thrash Metal
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voila_la_scorie
You cannot find a review of this album out there that does not mention Voivod. That is because Droid have included on their full-length debut album a lot of Voivod-isms, particularly of the likes of Nothingface and also Dimension Hatross. However, most reviews I read also mention Coroner and Vektor and a few people who are more familiar with the Canadian metal scene also throw in Obliveon. The reason for all these bands being mentioned should then make it quite clear that what Droid play is technical thrash metal.

Voivod similarities aside, Droid tend to go a bit further into seventies-influenced space and psychedelic rock, while still remembering that they are a thrash metal band. The blend is quite interesting. You'll get speedy, technical songs that break off into sparse and eerie interludes or some smooth, clean and jazzy guitar chords with bass and percussion keeping to the jazz mood. But you'll also get your dissonant chords a la Piggy and some more time-signature-bending technical riffs. Lead guitars seem to used more for melodic phrases rather than rampant soloing.

All but one of the reviews I read came to similar conclusions: the old school hardcore-meets-thrash styled vocals are rather one dimensional and need a bit of work (clean vocals do show up two or three times in mellower parts) and some of the tracks seem to fiddle about a little too long; however, the proggish compositions and interesting twists to the music make this an enjoyable album worthy of repeat listens. All but one review also gave this album four or four and a half stars.

As for my own opinion, I generally agree with what others have said. I like the Voivod-like parts but I'm glad that Droid are far from being simple Voivod copycats and follow their own path experimenting with technical sci-fi thrash metal and seventies space rock. I don't care about the vocals so much either. They are good enough on this album. Perhaps it's easier for me to accept the vocals because what's more important here is the music. Drums, bass, and guitar working very well together throughout much of the album.

If there's one point where my opinion holds a less favorable view it is regarding the production. Where others have specifically pointed out the good production, I feel the music sounds a little dulled down. Had this been just a straight up old school thrash album with really gruff vocals, the band could have blasted their way through the invisible cloak that takes some of the edge off the music. But as a technical space thrash band, I personally would prefer to have a slightly cleaner production.

Because this album is a little weird, it may not appeal to a lot of thrash fans. But for something a little quirky, this album has its rewards.

CORONER Mental Vortex

Album · 1991 · Technical Thrash Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
Swiss Thrash Metal band Coroner are purveyors of top quality technical Thrash Metal; with proggy, jazzy, avante guard tinges, but without going off the deep end and loosing the ability to crush you with pummelling riffs and catchy beats. I’ve heard them called ‘’The Rush of Thrash Metal’’ and while they don’t actually sound anything like Canada’s greatest trio, there’s an elasticity and eclecticism here that makes me understand the comparison.

This 1991 album; their fourth and penultimate studio effort, usually seems to be tied with the previous album 1989’s No More Color for fan’s and critic’s favourite and the one recommended to newcomers. Mental Vortex sets itself apart from the band’s ‘80s output by featuring an increase in groove… but without doing the ‘90s Thrash band mistake of going too slow and too groovy and loosing the real power and energy that fans loved in the first place.

This album features some of these former Celtic Frost roadie’s most popular tracks, and it is the kind of thing you’ll always find in lists of best Thrash albums. Songs here are typically varied, complex, impressive and also somehow feature catchy and memorable sections instead of just disappearing up its own backside. There’s so much to hold onto, so much to get stuck in your head. Headbangable riffs, rhythmic vocal patterns, intriguing instrumental sections. Remember when Dark Angel made an album with 246 riffs but somehow even with all that technicality, the actual songs weren’t always all that memorable? This is the opposite.

I do usually prefer my Thrash with cleaner vocals (Anthrax, Forbidden, Overkill, Annihilator) rather than the raspier harsher style Ron Royce uses here, and if you aren’t into bands like Sodom and Destruction this may seem a bit difficult on the ears, but its got a nice clean production and superb musicianship, and some creative and unique song writing, which should more than capture your attention.

What happens when you cross ‘YYZ’ by Rush, ‘Tribal Convictions’ by Voivod, ‘Into The Lungs Of Hell’ by Megadeth and ‘Domination’ by Pantera? The real answer is ‘’probably a mess!’’ Luckily however, Corner have made something better than a mess here. Something a lot, lot, lot better than a mess. (Misguided Beatles cover aside, but then most Thrash bands have at least one questionable cover song). That sentence was just my enduring memory of my first impression of this record. I may have been late to the party, but I’d go as far as to say discovering this was the best time I’ve had discovering a new Thrash band since my first 5 years of being a metal fan.

SADUS Elements of Anger

Album · 1997 · Technical Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Elements of Anger" is the 4th full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Sadus. The album was released through Mascot Records in September 1997. Sadus were without a label after their deal with Roadrunner Records ended, and released the "Red Demo" in 1994 to shop for a new label. It would be three long years in addition to the two that had already passed since the release of "A Vision of Misery (1992)" (the band´s third full-length studio album) before the band was signed to Mascot Records for the release of "Elements of Anger (1997)". There´s been one lineup change since the release of "A Vision of Misery (1992)", as guitarist Rob Moore has jumped ship, leaving Sadus a three-piece consisting of Darren Travis (guitar, vocals), Steve DiGiorgio (bass, keyboards), and Jon Allen (drums).

Stylistically "Elements of Anger" continues the slightly more mature and varied thrash metal style of "A Vision of Misery (1992)", and while Sadus have not completely forgotten their furiously fast-paced and aggressive past, they generally play a more heavy type of thrash metal, and the diversity of their music has also increased a lot since the early days of raging ferocity. Sadus include quite a few atmospheric parts on the album too, so "Elements of Anger" is overall a relatively varied release. When Sadus play the most atmospheric parts they sometimes remind me of Coroner on "Grin (1993)". There´s the same bleak atmosphere about the music on "Elements of Anger".

This is still Sadus though, and as always we´re treated to Darren Travis distinct sounding piercing screaming raw vocals and his impressive technical guitar playing, Steve DiGiorgio´s high in the mix busy bass playing, and Jon Allen powerful organic drumming. The musicianship is on a very high level, and there are several jaw-dropping moments of technical bliss on the album, but the technical playing is a means to an end, and not the primary focus of Sadus music.

"Elements of Anger" features a powerful, detailed, and raw sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. As mentioned above the bass is placed high in the mix, but that´s a Sadus trademark by now, and one of the things which make them stand out, so no surprises there. Upon conclusion "Elements of Anger" is another high quality release by Sadus, and yet another step forward in their development as composers and musicians. A few fans of the older material may miss the non stop aggression of the early releases, but to those listeners, who enjoy their thrash metal with a bit more variation and atmospheric moments, "Elements of Anger" is definitely a recommendable release. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

WATCHTOWER Energetic Disassembly

Album · 1985 · Technical Thrash Metal
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SilentScream213
The first true Progressive Metal band of all time

Manic technical insanity. There was nothing even remotely close to the progressive technicality going on in metal (or anywhere else aside from Jazz) at the time of this release. So far ahead of it's time that it can still be called an impressive anomaly of musical prowess today.

The music on display here is 5 star material. There are just a few unfortunate problems that really drag it down; first of all, the vocalist isn't great. Especially where every other member is an absolute virtuoso at their instrument, the weak vocalist really stands out. To his credit, he does write some interesting lyrics, especially for the time. The guitar and drum tones are also pretty bad, although the bass sounds great (it's audible).

Regardless, it's probably this album that spawned hyper technical metal, and pushed the genre to even further extremes without simply playing heavier. Groundbreaking and influential, but more importantly still an amazingly entertaining record to this day.

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