By now everyone should be aware of the fact that Thrash Metal has been enjoying an unprecedented revival as of late, with pretenders to the Big Four’s throne popping up everywhere. Stormspell Records, in their infinite wisdom (or is it just sly marketing genius?), has decided to release a series of “Thrash Clash” split albums with each featuring two up-and-coming Thrash bands. Here we have a “clash” between America’s DIAMOND PLATE and Sweden’s OPPRESSION. Which band will outriff the other first? Which band will double-bass the other into submission? Will the listener enjoy this? Hmm, let’s look at the tale of the tape (never has that term being more appropriate, eh?).
Hailing from: Worth, Illinois
Formed in: 2004
Label: unsigned as of yet
Releases: “At The Mountains Of Madness” (EP, 2008)
Hailing from: Falkenberg, Halland
Formed in: 1999
Label: unsigned as of yet
Releases: “Violence Will Dominate” (Demo, 2003); “Left To Perish” (Demo, 2004); DDEP VEIN/BLOODY SIGN/OPPRESSION (Split, 2005); “EXTINCTION AGENDA/OPPRESSION (Split, 2005); “T.P.A.S.” (Demo, 2005); “State Of War” (Demo, 2006)
DIAMOND PLATE has slight doubts over their credibility, seeing as how their chosen moniker sounds more Glam than Thrash. Another issue plaguing them is their relative inexperience – their Swedish opponents have at least 5 extra years of experience under their bullet belts, while also having released 6 demos and splits compared to the Americans’ solitary EP so far. DIAMOND PLATE is an untested entity, whereas the Swedes have already impressed yours truly with their “State Of War” demo (hell, it even made my top 20 of 2006!). So let’s see who can play the hardest...
The American’s strike first with their five tracks all taken from their “At The Mountains Of Madness” EP, and while the production is quite muddy and uneven in places the guitarists do their best to throw bite and velocity in their riff workouts. The pointless little intro gets things off to a slow start, while the first proper track, “Maelstrom” is a bit too simplistic/Punk-y around the edges to cause any serious alarm with both their opponents as well as the listener. They finally get their shit together with “Criminal Justice” and “At The Mountains Of Madness”, two tracks where sharper riffs come to the fore, underpinned with a solid galloping rhythm and very classy choruses, an area where the latter track impresses mightily, even invoking a slightly proggy vibe in the process. They started off a bit pedestrian but only grew in the face of opposition, and by the last two tracks they were well-oiled and out for blood. Let’s see what the Swedes can do to counter...
With their five tracks being comprised of three tracks off their “State Of War” demo as well as two new ones, the Swedes’ onslaught is a fine mixture of proven Thrash brilliance as well as surprise. They throw a mighty one-two-three combo with “Infected Youth”, “Forced Into Fire” and “Act Of Faith”, the three tracks a great display of mid-to-fast paced Thrash with a great production job and very convincing (not to mention charismatic) vocal display. Less abrasive than DIAMOND PLATE but way more intricate and lasting. They experience a slight dip in quality with the last two tracks, where a different vocal approach is utilized (think Mike Muir of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES), and while the riffs are OK, the vocal yabbering gives proceedings a slightly silly NOMEANSNO-esque sheen. Still, the opening three tracks delivered a mighty blow that may just have sealed the contest. Let’s see...
DIAMOND PLATE score a decent 68%
OPPRESSION score a great 75% and thus leave victorious, albeit not by knockout. Congratulations lads!
Yes, Thrash is alive.
(Online June 27, 2008)