I’ve never quite held them in quite the same esteem as SABBAT, but ONSLAUGHT certainly carved out a nice little spot in the UK Thrash scene, and seeing as how I found their 2007 comeback effort, “Killing Peace,” to be more than worthwhile I was rather intrigued to hear what they would come up with on “Sounds Of Violence.”
The album title is certainly apt since the majority of these tracks see the band hell-bent on hammering away at the senses with all the piss ‘n’ vinegar we’ve come to expect from them. If sonic aggression was the sole criterion in determining the level of quality of a CD then I’d rate this album highly, but sadly this is not the case. “Sounds...” sees the band continuing to dabble heavily with modern-ish Groove elements, a rather annoying trend that many other reactivated Thrash bands like TESTAMENT, EXODUS, and FORBIDDEN also seem to be preoccupied with. This is not necessarily a terrible thing, per se, but I think it’s fair to say that the only band that has really “cracked the groove code” would have to be OVERKILL. Those guys never disappoint, period. This over-reliance on rhythmic grooves and simple riff patterns totally fucked up albums like “Exhibit B – The Human Condition” and “Omega Wave,” and the same can be said of this album. Simply recycling a bunch of stock thrash riffs, a dash of modern SLAYER aggro, and hilariously juvenile lyrics does not make a good Thrash album, lads.
Sadly, the abovementioned recipe is used throughout the album, and by the time “Hatebox” rolls around, the album hits a severe slump from which it never recovers. The slower songs such as “Code Black” and “Suicideology” are also tremendously tedious to sit through. Even though songs like “Born For War,” the title track and the excellent “Godhead” (reminiscent of the sound RAGE was going for on “Perfect Man,” just heavier) kick all kinds of ass, the piss-poor second half of the album drags the whole experience down. It’s well-produced and well-played, but ultimately the songs whizz by without really leaving any lasting impression. Their previous album also had a few flaws but at least the songs had a bit of character of them, something I cannot say of the by-the-numbers material that make up this disc.
(Online March 19, 2011)