“Thrash to kill! Blood will spill!”
You smell that? Smells like goddamn Thrash because WHIPLASH are kicking in your door and ready to split skulls with razor sharp riffs and skull-splitting leads. This is 80’s Metal in its most absolute form injected with speed, ear-bleeding screams and supreme riffage. Submit to “Power and Pain”.
This is Thrash with balls ready to lay waste to all the half-thrash Gothenburg influenced bands popping up nowadays. Just listen to that guitar tone reminiscent of the mighty “Bonded By Blood”. The riffs pouring from the soul of Tony Portaro are about as mind-numbing as an aneurism. His lead work/solos are of particular note, shredding through the air in a state of controlled chaos, frenzied like Kerry King yet beautiful like Adrian Smith. Take a gander at “Message In Blood” in which half the song seems to be comprised of screeching solos ready to slice through flesh. These truly remarkable melodies are accented quite nicely with Tony Bono’s solid bass work and Tony Scaglione’s breakneck drumming.
The production found on this release is raw, as what should be expected from a 1985 Thrash album and enhances the atmosphere sevenfold. The intensity displayed is overwhelming and truly displays why the 80’s were the best decade in Metal history. Before you fall out of your seat in Metal bliss however, there seems to be a problem with the mastering job. Scattered about the album, like little landmines ready to be discovered haphazardly, are found annoying popping sounds of static. In some cases this is a very minor complaint and can be altogether ignored, but in other instances can become quite distracting. Right about half-way through the opener, “Stage Dive”, it hits hard and is most ear-grating during some of the shouting. The popping rears its ugly head a couple more times and does distract somewhat from the overall aural pleasure induced. Quite a pity such a great Thrash recording is marred by technical inefficiencies.
Back to why this album throws you to the ground and kicks you in the ribs, Ton Portaro’s vocals are absolutely stellar. This is one of the most overlooked aspects in contemporary Metal. Currently the scene is inundated with about a thousand grunters and a thousand Black-Metal raspers. What ever happened to the grand old days of METALLICA, MEGADETH, OVERKILL, etc, where each and every vocalist had a distinct and invigorating sound. Tony Portaro manages this and displays how instrumental a voice can be in shaping a record. Portaro comes across as rather hateful, comprised of a combination of Jeff Becerra and Don Doty. He is able to snarl scathing vocal-lines while also taking advantage of quite some range, hitting a multitude of high notes. It really does prove rather effective and enhances the enjoyment of the “Power Thrashing Death” found within. Want some proof? Listen to “Last Man Alive” with that goddamn catchy rapid-fire verse work. I cannot help but yell along and try to keep up (which is utterly futile)-“YOU’RE THE LAST MAN…TO DIE!!!”
Put quite simply; do you like Thrash? Yes? Then you will eat up WHIPLASH like you are suffering from chronic persistent hunger and have just been handed a steak. Listen to real Thrash and keep on banging your head till you experience “Power and Pain”.
“You know that you’re dead when you’re nailed to…the…crossssss!!!” (Online June 3, 2005)