Pick Your Rock and Metal

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday night's all right for thrashing

THRASH metal has been going for a long, long time - as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal made it across the pond to the good ole US of A it merged with West Coast punk and neo-classical structures to produce a new form of metal: led by the so-called Big Four.

With Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth came a host of others like Exodus, Testament, Nuclear Assault, all exhibiting their own take on the thrash 'genre'.

Fast forward to 2013 and Saturday night (October 12th) at The Distortion Project. A collection of young bucks who were not a twinkle in their parents eyes when thrash was being born in 'Frisco and like minded-US cities. What can these young 'uns offer?

First up in the two act bill were Eviserator. Competent and with occasional flourishes of excellence their reliance on the early thrash days were evident. However, given the reception of the dozen or so on the 'dance' floor they are convincing the fans that need to be convinced.

As to musicianship there is no doubt that they can play, with Toner's lead work especially noteworthy. However, as to arrangements they need to take a step back from the thrash formula. We suggest someone hides their 'Tallica, Exodus and other thrash albums for a month or two, or at least until they write their next set of tracks.

Is this harsh? No. They are obviously lovers of the genre and are well capable of using this foundation to build into a competent - even good - outfit. Just dump the Slayer cover: it didn't work; there is enough in your own repertoire to show. If you want to do a cover do something off-the-wall, not re-treading the path so many have waled before.

Acid Age were meant to be launching their new album, Enter the Zomborg at The Distortion Project, but its unveiling has been put back a couple of weeks - but that didn't stop them unleashing their own unique brand of "hyper-thrash".

Jude is a charismatic frontman and an excellent shredder, with Jake's impressive bass playing anchored by Jason's furious drum work. The songs that kicked off the set were that bastard children of Gama Bomb and Stormtroopers of Death; fast, witty and humorous.

With John Roche of Gama Bomb guesting on the forthcoming album (together with Tony Portaro from New Jersey's Whiplash) the influences are right there on the stage for all to witness; although as Gama Bomb are doing less songs about zombies Acid Age appear to have picked up the torch of the undead, especially with the pleasing 'Zombie Sabbath'.

The so-called hyper thrash owes a lot to the punk legacy here in Northern Ireland, as well as the likes of Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies, but incorporating enough excellence in delivery to showcase their talents.

But, it would be wrong to dismiss Acid Age as a one-trick pony; their nod to the NWOBHM shows that they understand the legacy that birthed thrash, with two or three tracks' structure nicely rounded amidst the mayhem.

All in all both Eviserator and Acid Age prove that thrash's day is not yet done; standard bearers such as Gama Bomb and Onslaught are keeping the flag hoisted and it is rather reassuring for this ageing thrash fan to see new blood coming through.

Enter the Zomborg will be released later this month on Punkerama Records.

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