Are you sure that we are welcoming 2010 as the new year, and not 1984? WHIPLASH’s new CD after an eleven year hiatus, "Unborn Again," is a one-way ticket back to the 80’s, where Thrash Metal was done right! Everything about this album sounds and feels old. I had a very hard time believing that it was released in 2009.
There isn’t anything special about the musicianship here; WHIPLASH isn’t here to dazzle you with sweep-picking and complex drum fills. They’re here to make you headbang and rock (or at least try, anyway.) The vocals instantly reminded me of Mark Osegueda from DEATH ANGEL’s early era. Nothing about the instrumentation is polished; the vocals are equally rough as well. In fact, the vocals are my main complaint about this CD. They are just…not good. Terrible, actually. The vocalist is pitchy to the point of distraction. I know thrash is making a comeback right now; a lot of the newer bands like SKELETONWITCH are trained in the dark arts of old school Thrash Metal. The difference between SKELETONWITCH’s "Breathing The Fire" and "Unborn Again" is that the former sounds like it was recorded during this decade. "Unborn Again" brings absolutely nothing new to the table. However, if you’re a fan of that old school Bay Area sound, these guys have pretty much nailed it.
The problem is that these guys wouldn’t have been huge even if we were in the 80’s. They sound like an average Thrash/Hard Rock mix. The riff for "Firewater" is about as complex as "Smoke On The Water" (and not nearly as entertaining, I might add.) WHIPLASH probably should have picked their favorite Thrash band and emulated their sound from their successful period, not from when they were a high school garage band. Naming a song "Hook In Mouth" is absolute blasphemy to a MEGADETH fan like me. Thankfully, they knew their place and did not attempt to cover the classic anti-censorship Thrash anthem; their "Hook In Mouth" is an original composition. The disc has its "very relative" highs, and it certainly has its lows. I have a hard time recommending this CD to even hardcore Thrash fiends, because they’ve heard everything here been done before. Even the cover screams, "We’re opening up for the 2015 POISON reunion tour, with co-headliners TWISTED SISTER and STEEL PANTHER." It almost is sad to listen to because the album sounds like a tribute CD. This wasn’t terrible; in the same breath, it wasn’t good either.
(Online February 17, 2010)