Flesh & Bones, the third album from Portuguese thrashers Switchtense, is the first album to feature new(ish) drummer António Pintor and it’s one hell of a way to introduce a band member!
However, first things first. This is a big, fuck off, nasty brute of a thrash album that steamrolls the listener from the very first cranium-crushing note to the last. “All Or Nothing” kicks proceedings off in fine style with taught, precise riffing and – when combined with the propulsive drumming of previously mentioned ‘new boy’ Antonónio Pintor – Flesh & Bones becomes the aural equivalent of being repeatedly punched in the gut by Mike Tyson while he’s suffering a particularly nasty bout of roid rage. The likes of “Super Fucking Mainstream” and “Old Souls (There Are The Ones)” follow the same pattern with brutal, muscular music and the rabid vocals of Hugo Andrade – who at times sounds like he is going to scream his lungs, liver and kidneys out – combining to devastating effect.
It’s fairly obvious that the core of Switchtense have been playing together for years. The guitar pairing of Nuno Pardal and Neto is particularly impressive, never overly flash or fancy for the sake of it but able to lock into a remorseless thrash attack while remaining unafraid to bring a little bit of groove to proceedings. Special credit has to go to Daniel Cardoso (Anathema); the sound of this album is never anything less than fucking immense and when Switchtense are at full throttle – which, to be fair, is pretty much the whole album – the sound is enough to liquify your bowels at a hundred paces!
One minor quibble, maybe a bit of light and shade could improve things a little but hey, this really is a very minor gripe. One thing is for sure, with youngish pups like these chaps on the go, thrash is in very safe hands and, on this evidence, when people talk about Portugese metal it’ll be Switchtense that’s uttered in the same breath as Moonspell from now on! 9/10