After remaining dormant for just over a decade, Sweden’s GUILLOTINE, also known as the side-project of NOCTURNAL RITES members Fredrik Mannberg and Nils Erikkson, is back and even stronger than they were eleven years ago, and certainly a stronger band than NOCTURNAL RITES. Be it a desire to cash in on the ever-present "Thrash resurgence", or just an appetite for music with muscle, something that NOCTURNAL RITES no longer provides, GUILLOTINE have dug themselves up, dusted themselves off, and they are back in full motion.
GUILLOTINE possess all the makings of a quality Thrash Metal band, and on the surface, "Blood Money" is a pretty straightforward affair. What the band excels at above all else is delivering what you would expect from a Thrash record; the rapid-fire percussion, the mile-a-minute guitar riffs, the blistering guitar solos and a raspy vocal bite that is neither subtle nor cute are all here, but GUILLOTINE will occasionally interject brief melodic guitar passages. This truly is a bold and ingenious move from the band. While the majority of the music is of the neck-snapping variety, Guillotine is not above enticing its audience with an ephemeral sampling of mellifluence before continuing with the visceral beating that is the meat & potatoes of the album. However, simplicity is generally the key here, and "Blood Money" will surely hold its own amongst the fresh batch of contemporary Thrash classics that have been released this year.
GUILLOTINE seem to have quite a bit in common with the more "brutal" Thrash Metal bands, a lot of whom emerged from Germany. They sort of amalgamate the intense and youthful passion demonstrated by KREATOR on their earlier records and the more mature and complex songwriting styles that can be heard on the more recent KREATOR albums, all the while sounding almost identical to DESTRUCTION.
If anything is working against the album, it is that the twelve songs (discluding the brief instrumental filler, "Madness") all feel fairly similar. This leaves little opportunity for the listener to lock on to a set of "highlights", but at the same time, all of the songs are of equal quality, and they are all unquestionably entertaining.
Considering the hefty amount of excellent Thrash that has been released this year, it would be nearly impossible to select a winner out of the bunch. Regardless of this fact, GUILLOTINE is up there with the BONDED BY BLOODs, the GAMA BOMBs and the WARBRINGERs, and this could very well be the leader of the pack. Anyone with an inclination towards Thrash Metal would be doing themselves a grand injustice if they chose to ignore this album. It is a must have.
(Online December 29, 2008)