Still crying yourself to sleep at night, bemoaning the retirement of Slayer? Kerry King certainly is! Well, fret not thrash fans, UK old-school thrashers Helgrind are here to satisfy that Slayer appetite with ravenous abandon.
With opener “Dead Shall Rise” coming straight from the Seasons of the Abyss rulebook, Helgrind’s stance as protectors of the faith is in full effect from the outset as they furiously thrash their way into full length album number 4. Originally due for release way back in 2017, any issues that led to such a considerable delay (post-mortem unnecessary) have been suitably laid to rest and with re-recorded guitars, bass and vocals Insurrection has finally crawled its way out of the mire, ready and able to kill again!
With such a debt owed to the pioneering work of their forefathers, it should come as no surprise that the full-throttle thrash found on Insurrection barely pauses for breath….but also offers precious little surprises; with the likes of “Massacre The Suffering” charging at you like the bastard son of Slayer’s own “War Ensemble” while “Dead Army” and album highlight “Not My Enemy” settle into early to mid 90’s-esque grooves.
If further comparisons are needed, sharing a kinship with the angry, angular sounds of fellow countrymen Anihilated is in Helgrind’s favour with their rapid-fire battery of remorseless intensity and angered sentiment echoing Anihilated’s own modern thrash triumph, Anti Social Engineering (2015).
There can be few criticisms with thrash this convincing. However, when frontman Paul Nelson sticks to his Tom Araya-esque holler the tension is palpable but his lower tenor fails to illicit the same response, lacking in the power required to match his authoritative barks. No matter, this hardly derails the album and, it must be said, Insurrection is as feral as fuck for the entirety of its 43 min duration regardless of the sounds emanating from Nelson’s throat.
Is Insurrection derivative? Of course it is. Modern thrash is wholly indebted to the likes of Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, Overkill and Sepultura and there’s simply no changing that. But, does that stop Insurrection from being an enjoyable experience? Of course not. Insurrection is the kind of album designed to snap necks and deliver a 100% thrashing experience from first track to last and, in that respect, Helgrind have delivered the goods. Long live thrash! 7/10
Helgrind‘s Insurrection is OUT NOW!