Why is Jeff the Thrash Hound looking so smug you ask? Is it because he has some tasty food in the form of a pigs ear in his mouth perhaps? Could it be because of the excellence both he and his overly large Germanic looking master have come up with for this little list of the finest of things Metal related? Nope, totally wrong on both counts, and probably anything else you may think of.
As a matter of fact Jeff (the Thrash Hound as we know him) has been in hiding for the last month or so, as you may have noticed by the lack of one of these thingies lately. Yes, he has been tucked away under the lounge out of everyone’s way due to one simple fact. In Glasgow (Scotland) as you may well know they have been having a thing called the UNFCCC, or in more human terms the Global Climate Change Conference, and our poor mate here, being one of the southern hemispheres largest emitters of gas, Methane being the correct term thought that Bojo and all of his mates might come down here and try to insert a plug or some sort of blocking device into his tiny canine anus.
The thought scared him so much, that he has barely let out a squeak during the entire time. Luckily for us his master (that massive Austrian goose stepping freak we know and love, well fear perhaps but that is a similar emotion) Longstretch cottoned onto the idea, and came up with a very simple solution. What was that you may ask, for future reference just in case your goldfish goes into a state of catalepsy about rising sea levels or your pet mongoose realises that someone named a pushbike after it? Well he simply reminded our furry little friend that the Prime Minister of Australia is a certain Mr. Scott Morrison, and we all know that that bloke actually encourages large gas emitters, and is also one of the largest in the southern hemisphere himself. After hearing this, Jeff let rip an absolute belter that made all and sundry around him cry out in anguish before their lives where sucked away in an instant, and then went and found himself a doggy treat. Yes, of course Longstretch survived. Trench warfare in both world wars and living with such a gassy animal builds up a certain amount of immunity, and they both had a good chuckle and picked a few albums for us to enjoy.
So there you have it. Another fine load of waffle, and now we suggest you get cracking and have a read about what they have been listening to lately! Adios motherfuckers!
Mystic Storm – From the Ancient Chaos
Mystic Storm hail from St Petersburg Russia in 2019 and quickly released their self-titled first demo. They then released a split album in 2020. After a few line-up changes and settling, the current four members released the full length “From the Ancient Chaos” on April 1, 2021.
These Thrash-niks play a skillful and noble mixture of Thrash, Speed and Heavy Metal, where some morsels of the bands that have influenced Mystic Storm can be heard. Think Slayer, Iron Maiden and yeah there are some Metallica vibes as well. “From the Ancient Chaos” is based around images of sorcery, mysticism and battles.
Although the lyrics are in Russian, which makes it challenging to understand what exactly they are singing about, but you will find it easy to understand the razor-sharp guitar compositions, a colossal bass sound, and riffs in abundance. I also gotta give a special mention to Anya, the vocalist. What a voice! Spitting anger and vitriol that summons spirits, ghosts and demons with great magical power and skill like the sorceress that she is.
As I sit listening to songs like “Nightmare,” “Beheaded,” and “In the Throes of Evil,” with their unrelenting and fury, sharpness, hammering, classic Thrash traits, I find myself wondering if Putin puts this on sometimes. Takes off his shirt, covers himself in mud, and moshes round the Kremlin before he Zooms with other world leaders. Or is he kicking back with his favourite vodka, discussing the merits of “From the Ancient Chaos” and how it connects with modern day Russia with his FSB mates.
As a debut album I found this album pretty cool to listen to. “From the Ancient Chaos” has plenty of epic moments to keep you paying attention throughout, and hopefully Mystic Storm don’t get arrested for doing their thing. I’m thinking of Pussy Riot, so they are able to develop and provide more Russian Metal for our enjoyment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to brush up on my Russian language skills.
Mortal Vision – Mind Manipulation
I’m running around the house like Smaug losing his shit over having his cup stolen by Bilbo, doing my alone version of circle work. Even Jeff, the dog is running around, I’m not sure he knows why but he’s loving it as well. This is all due to the eight tracks of the best Thrash Metal you could hope to hear being spewed and disgorged out of “Mind Manipulation,” by Mortal Vision.
Founded in 2019, Mortal Vision is a four piece Ukrainian Thrash unit, from a city there’s no way I could pronounce, that have delivered wrath and ferocity on their debut album, which was unleashed on the unsuspecting public on October 29.
Although they are in their early 20’s, what they have provided here speaks volumes of their musical abilities, let alone their Thrash chops. What I’m saying is that Mortal Vision are the shit, and this is the Thrash AOTY for me so far, and it’s going to take some beating for someone else to take that mantle.
To aptly start the album, the first few moments of the title track “Mind Manipulation” has the sound of bombs going off, which in itself isn’t new or daring, but it does prepare you for the blitzkrieg that follows. Now I used the term blitzkrieg ’cause it effectively demonstrates what is to come – a surprise attack using a rapid, overwhelming force that is supreme carnage from first to last and if I had to write about every track then this review would be ten pages long.
I do have one issue that needs to be raised. Every time I’ve played this, and I’ve played it heaps, I think yep “Eternal Hatred” is my out of the box track, then at the next listen “Raw Poison” takes the mantle, then “Condemned to Death” and “Forced Extermination” explode out of my speakers and they on the fav list and so it goes. Let me put it to you another way – and now comes the fan boy piece – “Mind Manipulation” delivers and bestows on us the meaning of life and Metal. Its fast, aggressive, modern sounding, fresh and most of all fuckin heavy! With plenty of chunky neck snapping pieces and chicken skin moments that derive from the magnificent riffs, relentless shredding solos, angry and crushing vocals, and pulse palpitating drumming.
I really don’t care how you get a copy, although I think the band prefer you to pay for one, but you just must. because one day this will be a classic that others will wish they had. Mortal Vision’s fire has just been ignited with “Mind Manipulation,” keep an eye out as Mortal Vision turn into a full-blown inferno.
Nattmaran – The Lurking Evil
The Lurking Evil is the album you get when three pals from Sweden, Indonesia, and Japan unite to provide eleven tracks about serial killers and the Devil however this album won’t be giving you nightmares, cause that’s what Nattmaran means nightmares in Swedish, it will provide good ol thrash ‘n’ roll with a diabolical speed onslaught that will deliver brass knuckles straight to the face. No other way to put it, this is simply killer.
Although Nattmaran only came to life in in this thrashier iteration in 2020, prior to that they were called Unholy Tenebris with a black metal bias, The Lurking Evil was released September 3rd 2021 and is 40 minutes of must listen metal with the perfect mixture of blackenish vocals, a storming aggressive attack of some of the best heavy metal riffs every to tear at your ear membrane combined with assault laden lead guitar work all beside some excellent production that allows each instrument to be clearly listened to and what you get is pure unadulterated bliss. Thrash paradise if you will.
Each track on here is an accomplished piece of work beginning with black metal tones and darkness in the vocals collectively driving and launching the guitars and drumming which are downright hard, fast and kickarse.
“Runaway” and “Die You Will” are classic examples of Nattmaran’s heavy metal qualities with their huge riffs and lead guitar chunks whereas “Die By My Bullets” evidences more of a punk leaning with all the wrath that can be mustered in 3 minutes. “Imprisoned” and “Prey for Redemption” are raw, nasty pieces of work with an absolute energy that just begs to be played live with the moshpit in full force and fury.
I only nominated these tracks out to give you a bit more of an idea of the excellence that you can expect when you put on The Lurking Evil however all the tracks are downright unrelenting and dynamic with not one track that could be deemed as filler.
In my mind it would be hard enough putting together a cracker album like this when everyone actually lives in the same country, but these guys have excelled in providing an album that if the devil was having a party, then he’s definitely putting this on to get Hades fired up and well if its good enough for him then who am I to argue.
Minus Life – Contorted Reality
Being Aussie, there’s nothing like the pleasure of writing a review for one of our own. Minus Life originally formed in 2002 in Brisbane and then renaming the band Silver Ocean Storm in 2007 till 2011, they reformed and released their first album in 2004 titled “Eternal Urban Megacide” under the Minus Life moniker.
Now, after refinding each other in 2018, Minus Life released their long long long awaited second album “Contorted Reality” on October 1, 2021, and it’s a beauty. This album has elements of Death, Melo, Prog, Groove, and symphonic shades that combine to provide a dark and sinister attack of genuine listening pleasure.
Vocally you’ll hear everything from clean tones to guttural growls that typifies a singer who has full control of his chords. Speaking of chords, the guitar work is also truly special with some incredible riffs and lead work. Further to this, the percussion work is top notch, and all this produces and constructs the atmosphere, composition, and comprehensive energy of the album.
The title track “Contorted Reality” leads off this 40 odd minute odyssey and this is where you get the outline of what is to come. Blast beats with orchestral tones, soaring vocals and that solo riff create the melodic chaos that strike at your senses. Continuing the theme “Manipulation of the Masses” attacks with its heavy grand lead riff and symphonic background working and beautifully combining with the vocals and percussion.
“The Hypnotist” and “Deaths Architect” are sonic strikes on your inner and outer self with the bludgeoning drumming in the later enough to give you bruising around your ear canals so that you will need more padding on your cans just so you can keep listening.
“Order Disorder” continues with furious waves of blast beats with some symphonic tones sit behind providing waves of melody. Mixtures of clean singing and death growls spit out the chorus and provide the singalong elements that are sure to be a big hit when this is played live. Lastly but by no means least is “Bodies on Fire”. Combinations of prog and groove here showcase the bands musical talent with seven minutes of everything that I’ve spoken about previously and a hell of a way to end.
Every track on “Contorted Reality” is filled to the brim with depth of sound, colossal progressive moments and definitive melodeath riffs and grooves. It’s also deceptively vicious and all these fixings combine to produce an album that really needs to be heard by all.