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Strikemaster - Inflexible Steel (6,5/10) - Mexico - 2008

Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Blower Records
Playing time: 34:45
Band homepage: Strikemaster

Tracklist:

  1. Inflexible Steel
  2. Prophetic Chemical Death
  3. Messiah Of The Damned
  4. O.M.D. (Orgiastic Mental Decadence)
  5. Violent Reinvindication (Live Bonus Track)
  6. Merciless Machine (Live Bonus Track)
  7. Thrashing The Blind School (Live Bonus Track)
Strikemaster - Inflexible Steel

Ah, more “new old Thrash Metal”, this time from America’s southern neighbours. This retro movement is a trend, yes, but as far as I’m concerned it is a pretty neat trend – I mean, you can’t really go wrong with a good dose of KREATOR/EXODUS worship. These Mexicans have this sound nailed and as a refreshing bonus they also possess a keen sense of melody, as evidenced by the frequent and sudden outbursts of twin-guitar histrionics, not unlike the kind of stuff that made bands like AGENT STEEL and HEATHEN so likeable back in the day.

Sound-wise “Inflexible Steel” comes off as exactly what you’d expect from a Thrash-obsessed bunch of South Americans (well, actually Central Americans, but that’s beside the point), as the sound is abrasive and to the point. The production is quite poor in places, with the guitars coming off as way too muffled for their own good while the vocalist jams just too many words into his lines, giving the songs a punky, crossover vibe that is a bit on the jumbled and simplistic side but fun nonetheless. The real saving point of this little EP is the melodic dynamic that lifts the songs above merely average. The title track is a prime example of this – it starts off dangerously bland but suddenly kicks into high gear after the melodic break halfway through, with a second set of riffs and very classy NWOBHM-esque leads flying in all directions as the track plays out. It turns an essentially second-rate thrash song into what could almost qualify as a feel-good anthem. The band also utilize this tactic in “Messiah Of The Damned”, a track that initially comes off as unimaginative “Pleasure To Kill” worship but soon turns into yet another melodic slice of fun. The band just reaches new levels of greatness when the solo sections kick in. There’s also 3 live bonus tracks thrown in for good measure but despite the relatively energetic performances they don’t really add anything overtly special to the EP.

I wouldn’t call “Inflexible Steel” essential listening but its unusually melodic character distances itself a bit from the safe EXODUS worship that seems to be the only driving force behind the current Thrash movement. Overall they don’t possess the sheer aggressiveness of MERCILESS DEATH or the playful nature of MUNICIPAL WASTE but STRIKEMASTER do a fine job of playing homage to their idols.

(Online October 4, 2008)

Neil Pretorius



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