Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Angelus Apatrida - Hidden Evolution

I love thrash metal. I watched it form and become a genre that, at the time, was the most extreme metal out there. Bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Kreator, Dark Angel, etc. played brutal music but at the same time played it with precision and talent. Thrash fell off towards the beginning of the 90s where most bands went the groove metal route. There has been a resurgence of the genre and, depending on who you talk to, it's the best thing that ever happened or an abomination. I'm not sure if it's because they think these bands are just ripping off the originators without the true feeling of what thrash was all about in the beginning or if they don't like the modern production because it makes the music seem sterile.

To all those who thinks the modern thrash bands are just  rehashing 80s thrash riffs I say so fucking what! I say good on them. Spain's Angelus Apatrida are one of the bands that are kicking ass and taking names by playing riff laden, head banging thrash metal. I must say that I have just recently started to discover some of these bands, I'm not sure why. Maybe because I was afraid of anything labeled thrash because you could wind up with any tripe from groovy mallcore to shitty metalcore mislabeled melodic thrash or crossover. I learned that I need to take each band on a case by case basis because this band has been around since 2000 and their latest and fifth full length, Hidden Evolution, is one bad ass thrash album. Coming right out of the starting gate with a song like "Immortal" these guys are taking no prisoners. The riffs are monstrous and they are plentiful. The vocals are your typical 80s thrash style that fit the music perfectly. The solo is fucking godly as is expected from any thrash band that's worth a fuck. Yeah, the production is modern but, seriously? Is that such a bad thing? I hear every riff, every drum beat, every cymbal, and the bass perfectly. Sometimes that production can make the music that much better. I wish some of those thrash classics of the 80s, whose production was muddy and chaotic, would have had access to the technology we have now.

After starting the album off they way they did, I was hoping that the album wouldn't fall off or run out of steam. Nah...these guys are the real deal. Songs like "Architects" and "Speed of Light" are future thrash classics. They are songs brutal, fast and the riffs, the riffs, the riffs...did I mention the riffs? This is what makes a 30 plus year thrash fan like me happy that thrash is not only alive but being made with skill and balls, just like it's supposed to be. And "Serpents on Parade?" That song is one of the best thrash songs written in a long time. The riffs are fucking killer, plentiful, and they kick your fucking teeth in! Slightly contrasting those songs comes "Wanderers Forever," which is more mid-paced and actually has a slight early Iced Earth feel to it. It's melodic and catchy but still maintains that brutality and riff heavy thrash. For some reason the vocalist here is going for Matt Barlow's gruff sound. Not their most original song but the solos are bad ass and it's still an enjoyable song. Rounding out the album is the nine minute title track. This song reminds me of Testament in so many ways. It's mid paced and the chorus almost reminds of Testament's "Time is Coming." The solo is fucking killer and leads to a slower cleaner guitar part before more amazing solos come in. It's one of those cases of the never ending solo...and that's fine by me.

So what this album proves is that thrash is alive and well. They are not reinventing the wheel or redefining the genre. What they are doing is playing good thrash metal. Their songs are catchy, their musicianship is top notch, and they seem to have the right attitude. They take the best of what thrash always was and molded it together to make one fine album.


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