The Pitch: From Spinefarm and Candlelight Records, "Exploding out from the deceptively genteel streets of Norwich, England, riff-wielding die-hards Shrapnel are one of the finest new bands to proclaim their devotion to keeping the thrash flame blazing." FFO: Exodus, Testament, Harlott
What I Like: As I've said many times before, it's hard to find worthwhile thrash these days. No, I didn't enjoy any of the Big 4 releases of the last 2 years. Fight me. More importanly, let that be the context of this review. Fortunately, every now and then a thrash album comes out of nowhere to re-establish the genre's former glory. Following up strong releases from Chaos and Harlott, Raised On Decay is another welcome newcomer. As with any thrash material, the proof is in the riffs. In this, Shrapnel are aptly named, because their hooks deliver so much carnage. You can't take a step in any direction without setting off a landmine of solos and shredding. I found myself making the most comparisons to Exodus in both the guitars and vocals. Shrapnel foster a similar a environment of 80's headbanging fun and catchy choruses without sacrificing proficiency, production, or compositional skills. And the rumbling bass and drums match these strengths at every turn.
Critiques: Thrash by nature hasn't lended itself well to much innovation outside of bands like Vektor. Raised On Decay isn't winning any awards for trying something different; in fact there are moments on tracks like "Complete Resection" that sound more than a little familiar to past albums from Slayer, etc. But then again reinventing the wheel doesn't seem to be Shrapnel's intent anyways.
The Verdict: Raised On Decay is another rager that passes the torch from old school to new school. Shrapnel deliver a series of powerful, albeit familiar-sounding, tracks that definitely blow the hair back and leave me reaching for a denim battle vest and fingerless gloves. Pick up the album this Friday.
Flight's Fav's: Hollow Earth, The Boundaries Set, Raised on Decay
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