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Monday, June 03, 2013

Thrash-tastic Terror Tapes from Gama Bomb

ADVERSITY? Gama Bomb have spat on adversity, poured poteen over flames that once threatened to consume them, and released one of the best thrash metal albums in many a long year with The Terror Tapes.

With vocal polyp surgery needed by Philly, long time guitarist Graham (amicably) parting company with the band, Domo breaking a tendon in his finger and a split with former record label Earache it could be enough to crush lesser mortals.

But in the world of Gama Bomb, despite brief flirtations with packing it in, they dragged their collective asses back to doing it the old school way and produced what is quite simply an awesome rendition of what thrash metal is all about.

The magic forumla of technical excellence, and the dichotomy between pure fun and seriousness is wrapped up in one wonderful package.

From the off the cautionary tale of drug abuse in The Wrong Stuff sets a breakneck pace sure to have necks aching, before the pummelling steps up a notch in Legend of Speed.

As if these two tracks weren't enough to get the most ardent thrasher roaring with delight it gets even better, as Backwards Bible proves catchier than an STI in Amsterdam.

But it is the mid-duo of tracks We Started the Fire and the single Terrorscope that rip through the lug-holes, with soaring solos, mad riffing and choruses that hook you in, willingly or not.

For all the seriousness of some Gama Bomb songs Philly and co have not kept the fun in a darkened locker.

Smoke The Blow with William Defoe and Sh**ing Yourself to Live will still have you chortling before the next tracks smash your face.

Philly was quoted in a recent edition of Terrorizer as saying this "...maybe this is like the thrash metal Thriller?"

We wouldn't go as far as that, but it is damn close to being a definitive take on thrash.

By the time Metal Idiot's guns through like an juggernaut driving at F1 speeds and the album rounds off with Wrecking Ball and you know there is something special about The Terror Tapes.

What makes this a special release is that it takes the second or third listen to really appreciate what is being delivered by Gama Bomb. The recipe of ingredients first laid out in the 80s by the pioneers have been taken and put into a great melting pot of snappy snare drums punctuated by fills; rhythm and bass playing nailed tighter than a messiah on a cross and lead solos and vocals threatening the sheer fabric of metal's tenuous grip on reality.

That is not to say that Gama Bomb can't be topical - as well as the madness of the likes of Beverly Hills Robocop your reward for persistence will find messages about the dangers of rascism and the urgent need for continuing freedom of speech.

If Gama Bomb were a charity their cross-border origins in this tiny island of Ireland would have grant-giving bodies pouring European money into their pockets. If they were besuited business men the likes of Invest NI would be offering subsidies and making grand announcements via government press officers.

From both sides of the border Gama Bomb continue to unleash thrash terror, and on The Terror Tapes they have come close to the perfect thrash metal album ever released anywhere on the British Isles. Nine and a half out of ten - and that half point off perfection deducted because all the editorial staff here wanted more tracks!

The Terror Tapes is available now on AFM Records. One message - buy it!

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