There's something to be said about a band that have been around for over twenty years and are still kicking. THANATOS, releasing their first live tape in 1987, are one such band. Their breed of Thrash/Death Metal harkens back to the older generation while still sounding relatively modern and keeping a good sense of power. A powerful and professional production gives it a energy and sense of purpose that remains intact throughout the entire release.
On “Justified Genocide” THANATOS don't break any boundaries or push anything relatively new to the scene. The music is all strictly within the Death/Thrash style that they've perfected over the years, with the focus being on the distinctive and varied growls and the constantly punishing riffs – either mid-tempo or poundingly fast. Occasionally hints of melodic and slightly less brutal riffs find their way into the music, such as the breathtaking climax of the first song “They Feed On Fear”. These help break up the monotony of the record and whenever they appear it is nearly always a highlight. The vocals are a mix between Thrash and Black Metal, a sneering growl/snarl that is constantly aggressive and never relenting; they work really well with the backdrop of music that is supplied.
This record is pretty much made for the people who preferred the early nineties breed of Extreme Metal, while listening to the record you are dragged back to that era constantly. It shows how the band have dedicated themselves to this kind of music and haven't tried to keep up with the times by making different music than what they enjoy making. It's a respectable trait. Luckily, there are sprinkling's of genius throughout the album that pop up when you least expect them. The second half of “They Feed On Fear” is a brilliantly melodic and amazingly well paced charge that comes completely out of the blue. The technical guitar work throughout parts of “March Of The Infidels” is wonderfully timed and creative, and the amazingly atmospheric and haunting interlude two minutes into “Apostles Of Damnation” is simply stunning, and completely unexpected.
“Justified Genocide” is a strong album from a band who have been going for a long time now, and people who like this music should eat this up. It doesn't bring anything new to the table, and the style has been done to death elsewhere but that doesn't make the album any less enjoyable. Sprinklings of innovation and well thought out moments of genius turn what could have been a rather generic album into something seriously enjoyable.
(Online April 19, 2009)