Ravager – The Third Attack [Germany]
Released: June 18th, 2021 via Iron Shield Records
The Germans have always been ridiculously good at this thrash thang and they’ve a new titan of terror to add to their ever-swelling ranks, in the formidable form of Ravager!
With two damn fine releases already to their name (2017’s Eradicate… Annihilate… Exterminate and 2019’s Thrashletics), The Third Attack was going to need to be something special to maintain the momentum. Mission accomplished. With the majority of The Third Attack‘s tracks whipping by in a frenzied storm of varied riffs and tempos, it was left to 8 minute closer “Destroyer” to, ironically, slay the competition. Frenetic, fun and full of ideas, Ravager‘s throw-it-all-in-the-pot mentality was commendable and, overall, this is one hell of an album.
Way above average thrash from a band who just keep on getting better with every release.
Black Mass – Feast At The Forbidden Tree [USA]
Released: September 10th, 2021 via Redefining Darkness Records
Everything about Black Mass‘ Feast At The Forbidden Tree screamed old-school. The oldest of school in fact, with the band taking their cues from the earliest of thrash and extreme metal sounds with Venom‘s Black Metal, Destructor‘s Maximum Destruction, Celtic Frost‘s Morbid Tales and Slayer‘s Show No Mercy leaping to mind (which is never bad company to be in).
A feast of rabid sheiks, growls and primal riffs, Feast At The Forbidden Tree wound the clock back to the early/mid 80s with ease and, most importantly, released an album so damn convincing you’d swear that Black Mass had been there at this start – yes, it’s that fucking good!
The forbidden fruit of this particular tree was certainly ripe for the picking.
Enforced – Kill Grid [USA]
Released: March 12th, 2021 via Century Media Records
Fuck-ing-hell. This was the shit, right here.
Enforced‘s Kill Grid was the kind of full-throttle, take no prisoners crossover thrash that had you picking a fight with your own living room within seconds of hearing searing opener, “The Doctrine”.
As furious as your Mum when she discovered how many spunk-filled socks were under your bed (sorry Mum), Kill Grid was unashamedly aggressive, fuelled by Knox Colby’s hardcore bark and the kind of frenzied riffing that propelled Slayer to god-like status.
All of us left reeling after the tragic passing of Power Trip‘s Riley Gale should take solace in the fact that Enforced will pick up exactly where Power Trip left off!
Crossover thrash has its new saviours!
Paranorm – Empyrean Fire [Sweden]
Released: February 26th, 2021 via Redefining Darkness Records
Empyrean, the debut album from Swedish thrashers Paranorm, is a unique blend of thrash, death and progressive metal which delivers on all fronts!
An album which belies Paranorm’s relative infancy, the likes of “Edge Of The Horizon” shifts effortlessly from a delicate acoustic intro into to a blackened explosion of crunch and chug. Invigorating and entertaining, the surprises just keep on coming as Paranorm run the gamut of progressive thrash / progressive death metal influences without once resorting to plain ol’ piracy.
Paranorm have entered the world fully formed and, with Empyrean, the sheer abundance of ideas at their disposal have been expertly consolidated at the first time of asking.
Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm [Netherlands]
Released: March 26th, 2021 via Century Media Records
New boys Cryptosis have downloaded their cyber-thrash debut, and Bionic Swarm is every inch the world-beater most of us thought it was going to be!
We say ‘new boys’ but Cryptosis have actually been flogging that ‘frash’ horse for a while now; previously under the ‘typically thrash’ name of Distillator, who were a damn fine band in themselves. However, Distillator have resolutely transformed – upgraded in fact – into a Vektor-esque, cyber-thrash juggernaut that should dispel all notions that thrash, in 2021, is a moribund genre.
So much more than mere diversification, Bionic Swarm represents the second coming for these seasoned thrashers, one that replicates the cyber-transfiguration that has led Cryptosis to the transformative state they can be found inhabiting today.
With more atmospheric numbers such as the enthralling “Prospect of Immortality” nestling next to the ‘thrashier’ likes of “Decypher“, Bionic Swarm truly has everything a fan of progressive/technical futuristic thrash could desire; wholly exhibiting a perfect union of classic thrash tropes and the bold, experimental nature of Vektor.
Instantly reinvigorating a genre that very much needed a jump-start, Bionic Swarm is the perfect companion-piece to Paranorm‘s aforementioned Empyrean and Vektor‘s almighty Terminal Redux (2016).
The future of thrash is certainly safe in the hands of Cryptosis.