Exekution - The Worst Is Yet To Come - (8.5/10)
Published on February 21, 2019
Somewhere between the beginning of the current decade and 2012 there were a number of obituaries being penned for what some now view as the New Wave of Old School Thrash Metal (NWOSTM), which is perhaps better known as the retro-thrash scene that came to a boiling point in the mid-2000s after about a decade of commercial dormancy. These so-called last rites of old school thrash metal might be news for the ongoing throngs of bands still putting out new material in the years since, many of them by brand new acts looking to use the universal access of the internet to buck the past trend of cyclical rise and decline for a respective style of music. Of surprising note in the past five years or so has been the quality and quantity of material coming out of Spain of late, largely spearheaded by the cartoonish exploits of the Catalan thrashers Crisix, striking a rather curious blend of extreme vocal work with more mainline Bay Area musical influences. Of a less known and less prolific note are fellow Catalan compatriots Overdead and Exekution, the latter of which has finally released a follow up to their unsubtle nod to the antics of Tankard.
While this band’s last train of riffs and shouts was largely an exercise in comedic odes to booze and otherwise stereotypical nods to the subjects of horror, pollution and violence, The Worst Is Yet To Come takes a notably blacker tone, though still ultimately a cartoonish one. The lyrical content often ventures into edge-lord territory meant to piss off the masses in a manner so brazen as to even make the likes of Slayer might react with a slight blush. Musically, the riff assault and general atmosphere takes on more of a vile feel in line with the Kreator and Sodom (Frank Blackfire era) of aggression rather than the lighter, punk meets early Metallica mode of Tankard that typified much of Depravity. The throaty snarls and growls sort of waver back and forth between the extreme fringes of thrash vocalizations heard out of Petrozza with the deeper, guttural mutterings of the early death metal sound as typified in Leprosy and Season Of The Dead, with particularly moments of death/thrashing mayhem flying forth during the faster segments of “Over The Altar” and “The Worst Is Yet To Come”.
In some respects, this is a band looking to expand their horizons within their fairly stylized niche, yet at the same time there are plenty of hints that they haven’t forgotten the place they were four years prior. One of the more intricate moments comes right at the album’s onset, as the instrumental prelude “An Eerie Down” presents a haunting harmonized guitar them somewhat reminiscent of the faded-in intro of Metallica’s “Blackened”, but more dissonant and looming. This overture is chased by a series of structurally complex riff monsters that are generally fast enough to pass for Agent Orange, but also involved and fancy enough to remind many of Coma Of Souls. In addition to the more death metal infused songs mentioned earlier, the longer-winded ode to the negative consequence alcohol “Epic Hangover” cycles through some truly raw and intense riff and drum work, not to mention some of the fanciest shred solos every heard out of these guys. On the other hand, the shorter and comically named “On Your Mother’s Face” and the tremolo riff-happy nod to Slayer “Hegemony Of Hatred” take a more streamlined approach and bring home the carnage in an equally fierce fashion.
About the only thing criticism that could be lobbed against this album is that sometimes the lyrics go a little overboard on the comedy and detracts a bit from the generally serious musicianship on display throughout the entire listen (such as the belching tracks accompanying the ditty “El Cepo De Mi Coche”). Nevertheless, this is a small but noticeable uptick in quality from the last outing, and about the only thing musically that could be improved in their formula is maybe giving the guitar solos a bit more time in the sun, as the brilliant mixture of Kirk Hammett-inspired precision based shredding and occasional singing vibes via Alex Skolnick is one of this band’s more distinctive features. It’s a bit more of a boon to those inclined towards a more extreme mode of thrashing that is often associated with the German and Brazilian scenes that played things a fair bit closer to the territory reserved to some of the prime movers in the Florida death scene. Baring a few misplaced comedic jabs, this is a crushing blow to the vertebrae that any long time fan of older Slayer and Kreator is sure to appreciate.