Thrasherwolf – We Are Revolution
Release Date: 19/09/2020
Running Time: 52:11
Review by Dark Juan
Good evening, all you sources of joy and delight! May your days bring you endless happiness and considerable opportunities for drinking, defiling the lady or gentleman of your choice in horrible, filthy, non-Christian ways that would make a porn star blush and of course for worshipping the Devil. Never forget the Devil worship for he is a right bastard and will do unspeakable things to your delicate little bottom if you forget about him.
Now, there was, at one point, a five hundred word political rant here in the first draft, that our estimable Editor and all round good egg Rick gently and sensitively told me was not acceptable. Having read it back, it was SLIGHTLY partisan, probably actionable and definitely libellous. Now, I would normally react in a spectacularly violent and noisy manner when being told to do something I don’t want to do, but Rick is my friend as well as my boss and I really didn’t want to lose this job so I decided to behave. And, it has to be said, he was right. Dark Juan is suitably chastised and will attempt to write a factual review and not get sidetracked this time.
My frothing rage and sense of political justice has been fuelled by British revolutionary thrashers Thrasherwolf, whose album opens with the sounds of a meeting to organise resistance to an autocratic government being machine gunned to silence. This has got my fighting blood up, but thanks to the wise and sage intervention of Admiral Sir Richard of Tilley you have not had to just skip the first five hundred words of this nonsense to get to the good bit. Thrasherwolf are vicious and vituperative, angry and clearly of the mind to be the soundtrack to the storming of Parliament, about which Dark Juan can only approve.
Sounding like an engaging mix of Nuclear Assault, Xentrix, Sodom and “Natural Order” era Hellbastard, Thrasherwolf serve us up a thrash sound that is pure 80’s heyday – scratchy, slicing guitar, bass playing that is as intricate as the rhythm guitar work, and the kind of drumming that sounds like a diesel engine at high revs. Their riffs are complex, living things designed as high grade weapons of war and the songs short, sharp punches to the solar plexus, delivered with speed, withering hatred and considerable elan, combined with the kind of socially conscious lyric that got this (one time) teenage hellpriest politically engaged in my youth.
‘Blood Moon’ is a cracking example of what I am trying somewhat ineptly to describe. A choppy, coruscating riff underpins drumming that could only be performed if you had four arms and several more legs than you were originally issued with at birth and solos that absolutely ache of “Kin” era Xentrix, and a vocal that is more to do with spitting venomous fury, rather than any technical merit. This is what thrash is supposed to sound like – the political fury of punk mixed with the sonic fury of heavy metal. Other highlights are ‘Ruin’ – a quasi-ballad with a socially conscious lyric that also has some absolute razor-sharp guitar work and ‘War’, where the influence of Nuclear Assault on the guitar work of Dan Lucas and Jack Saunders is clear to hear. At least to me.
This is not to say there aren’t problems. The production of the record could charitably be described as rudimentary. The guitars sound very strange and the drums equally so, almost as if they have been sequenced rather than played, and the cymbals also. It detracts from the listening experience, somewhat, although Thrasherwolf get a bit of a pass because thrash is meant to sound brash and visceral. The vocal is too far down in the mix, which is a shame because Dan Lucas has a pleasing, no frills thrash growl that sits somewhere in the middle of the impassioned shriek of John Connelly and the more measured, throaty tones of Kristian Havard, but tellingly without the rage fuelled lack of control that the mighty Scruff of Hellbastard employed. I’ve no issues with the bass sound though. Pleasingly meaty and thick and supportive of the songs as bass guitar should be employed.
In conclusion then – Thrasherwolf have delivered an album that melds the finest of fury-spitting Eurothrash with the more polished lyric writing of American thrash metal. Comfortably sitting astride both camps, Thrasherwolf are full of swaggering, rage-fuelled, apoplectic promise. There are moments where artistic vision and technical ability overwhelm budgetary constraints and production talent, but it should be remembered that this album is their debut long player and there is plenty of time for these notable young musos to tidy up their sound. An impressive and vibrant debut. I cannot wait to hear more.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System will be joining Thrasherwolf on the front rank of the revolution and awards them an anarchistic 8/10 whilst we storm the Houses of Parliament. Bloody good rage music.
01. Words Of Revolution
04. The Pack
05. Good Old Fashioned Violence
06. Vermillion Steel
09. Blood Moon
Daniel Lucas – Guitar/ Vocals
Billy Lucas – Drums
Jack Saunders – Guitar
Alex Mitsis – Bass
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