You have to hand it to the recent crop of Metal bands making their way out of Eastern Europe, when they pick a style and a set of bands to emulate, they don’t do anything halfway. Such is the case with the underground Slovenian Thrash machine THRAW. No punches are pulled; no necks are spared their fate of eventual whiplash, and no iota of attitude is wasted on half-cocked ideas or Half-Thrash nonsense. Nothing but good old fashioned Bay Area/California inspired goodness with a somewhat updated production and a few technical twists.
The biggest influences at work here are TESTAMENT and SLAYER, with perhaps a little dash of DARK ANGEL here and there. The aggression factor and speed are kept constant; riffs come and go in rapid succession, each one a little more intense than the next. Vocalist Aleksander Smode handles the rough edged yells and occasional banshee screeches with the same aptitude that Tom Araya did on “Reign In Blood”, while his actual voice tends a little towards Don Doty’s scratchier timbre.
As a whole, things definitely point towards a “The Legacy” approach to song creation. Riffs are piled in, but instead of relying completely on aggression as was the case with DARK ANGEL, technical guitar harmony interchanges filter in and out in a manner just a little too technical and dissonant for your standard METALLICA clone. Often times these bridge sections will stand in the stead of larger amounts of guitar solo work, as neither of these two axe men seem to want to emulate Alex Skolnick or Marty Friedman, in favor a more compact song format.
One interesting thing to note on here is a good amount of bass activity at work on here. It’s not overtly funky the way SUICIDAL TENDENCIES got later on in their career, nor is it played like a guitar as was the cast on early METALLICA albums. Instead, the presence of the bass in the arrangement is brought above simply being there as is the case on about 60% of Thrash albums and plays an active role in shaping the sound. A little fill in here or there, such as a quick intro lick on “Induced Adrenaline” or an auspiciously placed bass break in the midst of a quick sectional interchange on “Angeleater” are just a few of many examples.
Although this may not be the most original thing ever put out by a band in the year 2008, if you liked Thrash the way it was played in the 80s, with real riffs, gang choruses ANTHRAX style, and actual balls to back up the attitude, this is something to look into. In this day and age, the best newer adherents to old school Thrash Metal are found in the underground, rather than on major labels trying to milk the memories of the past with a watered down version of the original style. Countries like Slovenia overcame decades of communist oppression to bring you guys some quality Metal, so get off your weekend freedom lover asses and check these guys out.
(Online March 21, 2009)