Tuesday, 29 November 2011

#108 Venom - Fallen Angels

I've always liked Venom. They may not be a consistent, and they've perhaps never made a true "comeback" album to reach the heights of "Welcome to Hell" and "Black Metal", but what I love is the multitude of interesting stuff that the band makes along the way; Seldom in the same style for long, but then again, their music never was. "Fallen Angels" is the band's latest batch of interesting stuff.

"Fallen Angels" seems to take many of the aspects from the bands more recent works; "Metal Black", "Ressurrection" and "Hell", but also have a raucous air which is much more reminiscent of the early albums. The production is much, much more wholesome and enjoyable than that of the two albums Venom released prior to this - and while it's a bit scuffed and unpolished, something which is absolutely essential, it is also pleasingly crisp in it's own way - Everything is mixed and levelled nicely, and there is a strongly organic, earthy feel to the whole album as a consequence. The bass sound is enormous, and emphasised a little in the mix, with all of the bulldozer crunch that Venom made their own back in the day. This is done quite well too, there's definitely enough restraint not to spoil the other instruments, but the bass is definitely back to where it should be - as a three-piece band, it commands it's due third of the instrumental attention. The other instruments seem to be solid too, and the drums are well played and well mixed, which makes a change to them being either one or the other, in recent works.

Overall, intensity seems perhaps a little more restrained in the album than in some of the recent works, but it's still very replete with energy; this suits the albums overall style - it's a bit less agile, but it's got a lot of strength and might; songs like "Punk's Not Dead" have the same fist-pumping energy that tracks like "Countess Bathory" did on Black Metal. It's a strong album, by any standards, in respect to it's sound, and the songwriting on it, which is definitely a step up from "Hell" and maybe "Metal Black" too. There's even a calm acoustic instrumental, "Lest We Forget" which instantly made me think of "Mayhem with Mercy" from the bands debut, which went down the same road, a road which Venom seldom tread. It's an album with a bit of everything, and it's standing up well against the band's legacy - I feel that the band may have made a bit of an effort to return to their older sound a little more on this album, and it sounds like it's worked quite well.

Overall, well, it's not a comeback album. Perhaps it's a little bit late now for that, but that doesn't mean it's not good, and quite impressively good too - a cut above a lot of their newer material, and a thoroughly enjoyable album from end to end, something which listening to it more will add to, and not detract from, I feel. Once again, Venom have produced some interesting stuff.

It's a good 'un: 8/10.

Venom Official site
Venom on Myspace
Venom on Metal Archives

Saturday, 26 November 2011

#107 Vektor - Outer Isolation

Vektor are a young, and impressively skilled thrash outfit from the United-States. Their second album, "Black Future" hammered their name quite neatly into the map of 21st century thrash, and the wait for a follow up has been bedecked with it's fair share of anticipation and interest, especially when the album in question, "Outer Isolation" has the potential to be, for want of better words, something of a big-deal.

Carrying on in the bands science fiction, space and dystopia themed brand of very technical thrash, Outer Isolation is very much the logical step along from Black Future, and all of the main elements of the band's sound have remained intact; The distinct, shrieked vocals, and the absurd, breathtaking technicality, which exists at all tempos, which make you wonder how the band manage to play live at all, which, incidentally, they can do. Also remaining is the eerie and evil atmosphere which the band manage to always invoke. Often, thrash seems to be a style which is neutral, and it's feel is given directly in the lyrical themes - not so with Vektor; the music itself has an atmosphere attached to it, which too many thrash bands lack. The album seems a bit more accessible, too, the songs are a bit shorter, for starters, which is very useful considering that the typical Vektor song is such a maelstrom of complexity which takes quite some time to properly digest.

In what might be seen to be something of a brave move, the band have three tracks from their ambiguous, hard to find demo/debut album, and it's gotten a bit of mention from people anticipating the album. Personally, listening to the album once without looking at the track titles, I can happily say that there was no noticeable change in quality between the original material and the older stuff. After all, Black Future did the same, with the track "Destroying the Cosmos". This says something for Vektor's consistency - when material from an old demo can fit in nicely with material from their up-and-coming releases, it becomes quite apparent that the band hit the ground running, and haven't slowed down since. I'd tentatively say that I'd like to see a little bit of development, nothing drastic, when my time comes to review the album after this one, but until then, Vektor are thankfully lightyears away from developing any kind of "releasing more of the same" problem. That is to say, this album is not without differences - There's lot more work which doesn't rely on riffs; extended intros, and cleaner sections which feel like the seedlings of something which I could potentially foresee Vektor getting an excellent reputation for.

All things considered, Outer Isolation definitely feels enjoyable to listen to, and it's got all of the things I liked about Black Future. In a year of milestone releases by many of the younger thrash-bands out there, Vektor may well be leaving a mark much deeper than some. Despite the age of the thrash genre, the band are definitely bringing something new to the table.

I think "Outer Isolation" is a 9/10.

Vektor on Myspace
Vektor on Facebook
Vektor on Metal Archives

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

#106 Root - Heritage of Satan

Nine albums into a long career, Root can definitely be said to possess a certain admirable longevity, and stamina for producing metal, over what is almost twenty-five years now. Their latest, "Heritage of Satan" seems to be a return to the bands satanic roots, no pun intended, and possesses an aesthetic in common with their earlier material, in terms of theme and artwork.

Root's brand of black-metal has always been quite quirky, and the level of actual black-metal in it varies a lot from album to album. This album is quite heavily dosed with black-metal, with songs like "Darksome Prophet" having all of the hallmarks of the genre, while other songs on the album go down a softer path, which is quite unique, but combines elements of just about everything. One of the things I noticed on a decent number of the songs was more of a sense of groove than on the albums previous to it. Not to the point of being in any way groove-metal, but certainly a noticeable amount - which gives a sound to the album which I can only describe as being like "Bolt Thrower having a go at playing black-metal". The album is varied in the style of the songs - although many are in Root's traditional style, there are certainly new things throughout the album; The black metal elements seem a little more conventional, which is juxtaposed oddly with the catchy, almost Rock like, melodic nature of some of the song arrangements, which is something the band have usually done to some extent, really spicing-up their unique style. There also seems to be an increase intensity throughout the album, compared to the generally mid-tempo works like "The Temple in The Underworld".

Vocally, JirĂ­ "Big Boss" Walter is holding up very well, with his usual bellowing, almost classical sounding vocal attack unaffected by the fact that he's getting near to sixty years of age, and his vocal diversity is apparent as ever, with demonic sounding spoken word parts, harsh vocals, and accomplished clean vocals well blended throughout the album, and it's pleasing, at heart, to feel how unique the band have managed to remain, and I must admit I felt a thrill that this album is not only a return to their classic style, but is also easily as good as a lot of it. Initially, I wasn't sure what to make of the album, but after a few listens, it sank in. Damn... it's good, quite impressively good, in fact.

Root are among the most unsung of metal's unsung heroes, which seems very unfair - a band with a career as long as theirs, with as many albums, and such a unique sound, really, deeply deserve a lot more recognition, and this, dare I say, first-class release is yet another reason.

I'm going to give this a 9/10.

Root Official site
Root on Myspace
Root on Metal Archives

Friday, 18 November 2011

#105 Gorematory - Zombie Slaughterfest

I encountered this band a few days ago, being promoted in a rather convoluted way by their drummer, who posted a live video of his drumming. I'm usually sceptical of bands which do things like this, but as I clicked past the live video onto the studio tracks, I was somewhat impressed with the bands brand of death/thrash, and decided to listen to their self-released debut, the titillatingly titled "Zombie Slaughterfest"

The thundering behemoth of thrashy goodness which arrived through my headphones was certainly of a high calibre, and was also catchy. I say thrashy because the mix of thrash and death-metal seems to lean that way - In the style of bands like Death, the sound is very much a thrashy one, with the same speed, aggression and distinguishing features, albeit augmented by brutal vocals, and a savage death metal intensity and deep guitar sound, and the cover of "Zombie Ritual" goes on to highlight this fact. The growled vocals go well with the gruff, oldschool sound of the album as a whole, as does the production, which is very early-death-metal, without compromising the coherence of the sound  too much. On top of this, the songs are quick, memorable, and to the point - which is, I'd guess, the best style to opt for with this style of death-metal. Like a fast punch to the face, as opposed to a lengthy, tiring bout, the songs are easy to absorb, generally lasting between two and four minutes, which is enough time to be interesting, and to get some technically impressive musicianship done, but not so long as to become stale to the ears.

Talking of technical, that's definitely something that the band are. Not so much in the "tech-death, prone to a lot of guitar wankery" way, but in a honest, "this is impressive, but we're only doing it because it sounds cool" kind of way - which is by far my preferred approach to technical playing in metal, and while the band may not be bringing much innovation to the old-school death-metal sound, it's pleasing to note that they're playing  it the right way, and the whole aesthetic of the album is a testament to this - the artwork and production values certainly give the impression that the album might have been unearthed from a late-eighties time-capsule; The band have certainly got the OSDM sound down-to-a-tee. I don't know death metal anything like as well as I know thrash or black metal, but I'd certainly venture to say that what this band is doing for death-metal is analogous with what bands like Warbringer and Evile are doing for thrash, or White Wizzard is doing for traditional-metal. Categorisation matters little, however - of it's own merit, "Zombie Slaughterfest" is good.

I have to say, this album seems like a very solid debut, and I was certainly impressed and pleasently suprised. I don't often happen upon bands of this calibre through following self-promoting forum posts, but this time, I found an exception. The name and album title may be toungue-in-cheek, but the band take the business of making metal deadly-seriously.

I think this album warrants an 8/10.

Gorematory on Myspace.
Gorematory on Facebook.

Gorematory on Metal Archives.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

#104 Beastwars - S/T

Remote as New Zealand is, that fact doesn't mean that it isn't home to some impressively industrious and successful bands. Beastwars are one such band, and, despite my perception of New Zealand as an inhospitable habitat for music, especially something on the fringe, like metal, the band seem to be thriving, touring, and generally doing quite reasonably. Their music quality, I hasten to add, reflects this nicely.

Sludge metal is slightly unfamiliar me - I have to say, there are definitely subgenres that I've listened to with greater frequency, but in contrast, the style has been one I've frequently fallen back upon when a little overdosed on thrash or black metal, and is also one I feel I like a lot more than my limited collection of albums in the genre testifies. Beastwars give a very solid impression of said genre, capturing many, if not the majority, of the features which make it good - a huge lower-end, diverse vocals, deep guitar, and the occasional psychedelic, stoner influenced section, in an album which is solid and pleasingly diverse in it's approaches. Like doom metal, I find sludge metal to set a soundscape in which the listener can wonder, as opposed to being a direct drip-feed of sound, and the soundscape Beastwars generate is a hazy, twangy-guitar filled slightly slow-motion head-nodding extravaganza, which is precisely what the doctor ordered, and will clear your head in moments.

The serene intensity which the band bring forth in their music seems to be nicely brought forward in the production, which has got a nice balance, with the low, muffled sound typical of sludge metal not being so extreme as to spoil the guitar tone, and the prescence of the bass and drums, with enough treble to add emphasis on the multiple dimensions in the music. It's not just intensity, either - just about everything in the bands arsenal of sounds seems to be on a grand scale. The songs may not be twelve-minute behemoths, but you'd be wrong to assume that the band would produce cheeky, attitude-laden sludge metal, what the band make is an odd, almost trippy sound, which feels as unfathomable as it is difficult to describe. It's not quite "epic" in the conventional sense, but the atmosphere and mid-tempo intensity give it something which is definitely difficult to place. All I know is that this music, crushing rhythms, and almost primal, pounding drums, would be my soundtrack of choice for a Lovecraftian apocalypse.

I glanced over the album, what must have been only a few months after it was released. I enjoyed it, but at that time, It didn't appeal to my tastes as much as it does now. A couple of music-taste developments later, and I'm thoroughly enjoying the album - It's what I like about sludge-metal, nicely distilled into one handy album, and I'm damn glad that I spent the time to re-visit it today.

Some albums leave a lasting impression after the closing seconds of the last song snap into silence. This is one of those albums. 10/10.

Beastwars on Myspace
Beastwars on Facebook
Beastwars on Bandcamp
Beastwars on Metal Archives

Sunday, 13 November 2011

#103 Skiltron - The Highland Way

I'm sure I'm not the only person who looked at bagpipes and thought to myself  "they could work really well in metal." Proof of that fact is Skiltron, an Argentinian folk/power metal band who unleash a speedy bagpipe driven attack on the senses. Their third album, "The Highland Way" had been out for a while when it caught my attention, but now I'm giving it a listen.

As far as I'm concerned, anything with bagpipes in it assumes a certain degree of epicness the moment it is played. When the music in question is metal, things can only get better. Being power metal, of the European school, the band make plenty of epic feel and high vocals, which combines well with the bagpipes, which come in at well timed moments, much as if they were used like an additional guitar, with synth also added to the mix, in standard power-metal fashion, although the synth is relatively tasteful, building the atmosphere, as opposed to being plastic and unnatural. The band seem to be on a clear run, too, with each album as respectable as the last, albeit with subtle changes. Compared to the past two, this album is more polished, and the synth is a lot more prominent, which is a difference, albeit not a bad one. The songs also seem a bit more mellow, more comfortable to play at a lower tempo. To me, this is a band whose development is ideal - not overly fast, but a slow, enjoyable development, not once compromised by a spell of bad material.

As in the previous album, the band's vocals are excellent; Diego Valdez is very reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio, but the musical context of the voice is easily different enough to make it feel honest and natural, suited to the bands sound, as opposed to overtly simply sounding like Dio. Over and above the distinct nature of the bands sound, it's quite clear that the band members are very competent musicians in their own right, with strong performances coming from all instruments, and a good mix of which of the said instruments has it's time in the spotlight at a particular time. Yes, the bagpipes provide a lot of the lead work, but that doesn't mean there aren't guitar solos, and good ones at that, suggesting that the band have successfully avoided being "Gimmicky" and are simply good in their own right - certainly, the presence of bagpipes doesn't please me due to any sense of patriotism, or because I want to feel particularly Scottish. No. They please me because I just happen to like bagpipes, and Skiltron incorporate them damn nicely.

I feel Skiltron are unsung heroes of power-metal - and they certainly don't get the attention they deserve. They produce a celtic-metal sound easily as good as any band from Europe, and whats more, they do it without making it too flowery. Their sound may be very much grounded in Scottish history, but it'd be good whatever it was about, and that can only be a good sign.

I give "The Highland Way" 7/10.

Skiltron Official Site
Skiltron on Myspace
Skiltron on Facebook
Skiltron on Metal Archives

Thursday, 10 November 2011

#102 Thrall - Away From the Haunts of Men

Yes, their new album was released not long ago, and no, this isn't it. Thrall's first album, titled "Away from the Haunts of Men" has been a review I've been planning to do in quite a long time, and now, despite the new album already on it's way through the post, I feel I aught to review the debut that I've so long intended to. Consequently, here it is.

Coming from Tasmania, not the first place you'd expect to find black-metal, you could assume that there's got to be something a bit different about the band. They're certainly not conventional black metal, that much is certain - the band cast a bleak, weather beaten shadow, instead of the quintessential satanic, blasphemous one that so many bands adopt. The sound reflects this, too - The vibe the music gives is dessicated and barren, as opposed to occult sounding, evocative of the impartial power of nature, and not the malign power of demons and devils. The production comes into play too, although I find myself uncertain of the results - It's quite polish, perhaps excessively so, and I found the drum sound, when in faster sections, to sound annoyingly sterile. The bass guitar is quite prominent in the mix too, which I enjoy to an extent, although it sounds novel, if anything, as opposed to adding much to the sound. With this production taken into account, it's probably just as well that the songwriting is pretty good throughout, which cheers me up about the whole album.

One of the things which is conducive to my enjoyment of the band is how well they handle the slower sections; more atmospheric, and certainly more dark sounding than the faster, relatively conventional sounding faster sections. A good example of this is "Rank Webs", the whole of which is minimalistic, and utterly terrifying, fulled with a suspense and trapped energy which sends shivers down the spine. It's those moments which attracted me to Thrall's sound in the first place, and also which keep me coming back for more. Don't get me wrong, the fast sections are definitely enjoyable, in a late-Burzum meets early-Gorgoroth kind of way, but Thrall are just so damn good at slow, sinister sections - even a small slow bridge between torrents of speed adds a great deal to the songs, it's the seasoning, the certain something which makes Thrall stand out from the crowd, and be more than just another black-metal band.

Overall, a number of the tracks on the album make it worth it, and certainly help me overcome my qualms about the production, and slightly sterile drum sound. Hopefully, the new album will be not only a worthy follower, but also an improvement on this album. It's damn good to listen to some black metal which is a bit different for a change.

I give the album 8/10. 

Thrall Official site.
Thrall on Myspace
Thrall on Facebook
Thrall on Metal-Archives.

Monday, 7 November 2011

#101 Savatage - Edge of Thorns

I notice that I've reviewed a lot of thrash-bands recently. Something a bit different seemed in order, and fortunately, Savatage were there for the listening. Savatage are one of those bands that I should perhaps have had a listen to long ago, and I feel a bit incompetent for only just listening to them properly recently. The band play a range of styles, but this album is a melodic heavy metal, borderline power-metal affair, and all in all, sounds a damn fine album to introduce myself to Savatage with.

Within a few minutes of listening to the album, I was hit, as if by a gust of wind, by how powerful the music's vocals were, and how vocally dominated the band's sound was, which was made interesting by how much power the songs retained in spite of this - I find many vocally dominated bands to be a little feeble in terms of the energy in the music, especially in terms of rhythm, but it seems Savatage have the balance quite nicely in the bag - maybe while the vocals soar above, the instruments, like the ground below, are also huge and powerful. A lot about the album seems to be well blended - the production is very nicely done, with the leveling nigh-perfect, as far as my ears tell me. The blend of styles is interesting too - It's not quite power-metal, and it's not quite rock, but it certainly has the enjoyable features of both, in profusion. The virtuosic vocal edge, and guitar crunch of metal, but the attitude and occasional bluesy lick belonging very noticeably to rock.

Beauty seems to be the integral element of the record, as opposed to heaviness, virtuosity, or attitude, and it's quite a pleasing fact. The songs are evocative, and the lead-guitar and clean sections are genuinely intense and emotional. I've always enjoyed bands who manage to sound epic without using a great number of effects, and Savatage are certainly one of those - Guitar and vocals strong throughout, with an honest, organic epicness. The band aren't "heavy" in a way which is recognised greatly today, but it doesn't need to be to have a great impact - the music feels hugely intense without resorting to speed, or excessive layers of sound - making the music both down-to-earth, and incredibly epic at the same time. Whatever a well-done 80's ballad had, that's what Savatage seem to have latched onto, and, dare I say, improved upon.

I'll admit, I call albums "solid" quite a lot - but they are solid to varying degrees. This one fits into the highly scientific solidness-category of "very". It's one of those albums I wouldn't have listened to immediately, but at a friends recommendation, I listened, and I liked.

I'd say this album merits a good 8/10.

Savatage Official Site
Savatage on Myspace
Savatage on Facebook
Savatage on Metal Archives

Saturday, 5 November 2011

#100 Bathory - Nordland

When I started writing reviews, I didn't really think about how long the adventure would last. Turns out, the answer was "quite a while". I'm quite pleased with how things are going, and even moreso by how much deeper I'm finding myself able to look at the music I find, compared to the initial, barely paragraph long reviews that I started the ball-rolling with. This, my one-hundredth review, felt like it should perhaps be something a little special, and that is when my inner, irresistible urge to at some point review Nordland came into play.

As I mentioned in my previous reviews of Bathory, I'm a confessed major fan of the band, and since I discovered them, I've still not found anything quite as incredible. Nordland is the first of two (planned to be four) albums in the Nordland series, cut short only by the death of Quorthon. A bit slower and warmer than it's follow up, Nordland II, but in my view, it epitomises the glorious and inspiring viking-metal style. As the evocative "Prelude" exploded into the blood-raising intro to "Nordland", the first time I listened to the album, I knew I was onto something which would change my taste in metal utterly. Every song on the album seems in some way inspiring, the rough, unpolished production adds something to the synth and crunchy guiar which a more polished album would not possess; It completely banishes and sterility that the album might have. I can safely say that I've never encountered an album which rushes quite so powerfully through my soul, and I'm not saying that because I'm merely a fanboy - I say it while attempting impartiality. Compared to almost all of the albums I've ever regarded as whole entities, nothing comes close, with the exception of perhaps Nordland II, which comes, at times, very close.

Quorthon seemed to take everything which he had done in the band's middle-era viking-metal, and make it thicker, deeper, and more and more organic sounding. Compared to bona-fida classics like "Hammerheart", Nordland sounds richer, and even more grand and enormous. The album is the soundtrack to snow, ice, battle, and to longships sailing over the sea - majestic, and yet evocative of glory. One of the defining features of the album is it's tone; It's thick and crunchy, but also maintains enough treble to sound lucid, as opposed to muddy - whatever comprimise of tone Quorthon reached in studio, I can safely say that it's the best guitar sound I could hope for, in terms of the albums style. The layers of sound in the album also sound excellent, with lead work soaring amazingly over the rhythm. Although other Bathory albums may be superior in terms of reputation, and status as classics, I'm of the opinion that Bathory reached a new peak with Nordland, and the peak was only interrupted by Quorthon's death. More is the pity.

Perhaps I wrote this review more for me than for anyone reading it, but I knew it was going to happen eventually, inevitably. If anyone is reading it, and hasn't listened to much or any Bathory, I cannot recommend it enough. Frankly, I'd recommend it even to someone who hasn't listened to much metal, let alone much Bathory.

It's 10/10. I'm sure you saw that coming.

Bathory on Metal-Archives.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

#099 Megadeth - Th1rt3en

Megadeth were, without a doubt, the first metal band I was into. Maybe they're not always in my top-ten bands of the moment anymore, but they'll always have a special place in my heart, as I'm sure anyone can empathise. "Th1rt3en" marks the bands... well... thirteenth studio album, and seems to, in places, take a softer approach to the band's sound, with a more "Countdown to Extinction" and "Youthanasia" style approach.

One thing which is immediately apparent, so immediate that you're well aware of it before actually listening the album at all, is that a certain proportion of the songs on the record have been recycled. I'll leave you to look at the tracklists yourselves, but I'll state that some of the re-workings are more welcome than others. "Sudden Death" seems a bit pointless - sounding almost identical to the version released as a single only about a year before, and despite being one of my favourite B-sides, "Black Swan" isn't done much justice, it's majestic intro exchanged for a chaotic and much less beautiful sounding affair. That said, "New World Order" is tolerable, although I still much prefer the demo version, where the riff isn't spoiled by lead-work. The new material on the album, accounting for nine of the thirteen tracks, certainly has a much less thrashy edge than "Endgame" or even "United Abominations" did, and goes down a more simplistic road, reminiscent of Megadeth's middle-era, especially, as far as I can hear, "Cryptic Writings", which is regarded as quite tame, but not, thankfully, as much as "Risk".

While many of the new songs are quite enjoyable, for instance, "Public Enemy #1" is immensely catchy and well put together, quite a lot of the material seems very filler-like. A lot of the songs, like "Guns, Drugs and Money" have almost no distinguishing features whatsoever, seemingly a miasma of forgettable guitar, with little apparent structure. Th1rt3en feels less like an album, and more like a collection of songs which just so happened to exist at the time, which, at least, brings in some pleasant windfalls, such as "Never Dead", which is possibly the one genuinely thrashy song on the album which hasn't been released in some shape-or-form already. As much as I really rather want to like this album, I can't help but feel that it comes nowhere near the fantastic peak re-claimed by "Endgame". The production seems a bit off, too - I like crunchy guitar, but they seem a little too crunchy on this album - quite often robbing the song of the sharp edge which Megadeth use to excellent effect. The vocals sound a little bit drowned out, too, but all in all, it's adequate.

It's a step down, but it's not a bad album of it's own right. Sadly comparison to other work by the band is inevitable, and I can safely say that it's not a continuation of the peak of excellence that "United Abominations" and "Endgame" built. It's not overtly disappointing, but it's a bit of a comedown from even it's most recent predecessors.

I give the album a 6/10.

Megadeth Official site
Megadeth on Myspace
Megadeth on Facebook
Megadeth on Metal-Archives

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

#098 Entropy - Reclamation

I'm still not quite used to getting requests to do reviews, but the quantity of incoming requests seems to have increased lately, so I should probably get on with it. You might jump to the conclusion that Entropy are one of those "Retro thrash" bands, but you'd be wrong, considering that the band have been around since 1996, they're a good ten years ahead of you're average modern thrash band. Age, of course, isn't relevant to quality, but, fortunately, the band are also rather good.

Thrash, it can confidently be said, is a very diverse genre, and there are a copious number of copious approaches which can be taken to playing it. Entropy deliver an angry, but also solid sounding and reasonably melodic version of the genre, with vocals which are more sung and bellowed than screamed or growled, taking more from bands of the "Big-four" style of thrash than from the more caustic, harsh schools of thrash. The riffs, too, go down a similar road, wholesome, chunky playing, with plenty of weight behind them, making every chord and note played sound pleasingly tough and well-rounded. The songs as a whole seem to be of this persuasion - not overly complex, but solidly played and accomplished, with the occasional elaborate flourish. But instead of being up-it's-own-arse technical for the sake of it, the flourishes in question are very conducive to the music sounding good, which a lot of bands, it seems, forget. It doesn't matter how technical something can be, the real question is how it sounds, and Entropy seem to be refreshingly aware of this.

A lot of the modern school of thrash bands get criticised for being unoriginal, and I'll be the first to admit that this band doesn't break down any terrific musical barriers, but this, I feel, is quite nicely outweighed by how enjoyable the bands sound is - The EP sounds as good in 2010 as it would have done in 1986, and, for those who preach originality above all - ask yourself, if this was released in those times, would you like it? If yes, then frankly, there's no excuse not to like it now. The musical perception time is an odd thing, perhaps, considering how irrelevant it is to how something sounds. If you listen deeply, there's some clever stuff in the EP, which makes it easily worthwhile, and whats more, it's nicely put together as an EP, and I'm a sucker for a lovable little EP, if it's well done.

I'm not  good at criticising albums unduly, especially considering my habit (flaw) for mainly reviewing albums that I enjoy in the first place. But a lot of the time, I genuinely can't find much to find fault with in this EP - It's quintessential thrash, and what's not to like about that?

I give the Reclamation EP 7/10.

Entropy on Bandcamp
Entropy on Reverbnation
Entropy on Facebook
Entropy on Myspace
Entropy on Metal-Archives