Obzidian: Obliteration Process (Black Rock Records)
This is the fourth full release from Stafford’s thrash and groove metal four piece Obzidian. It’s fair to say this is the UK’s answer to Lamb Of God with the snarl of Matty Jenks so close to Randy Blythe that on occasion I had to look up and check I hadn’t put Richmond’s finest on by mistake. But that is no bad thing. Obliteration Process is full of groove and power and a sound that is impressive for a four piece.
It’s also dripping with aggression, brutality and sounds damn fine. Jenks’ voice is guttural in the extreme, at times verging on wild hog but overall quite fantastic. Matt Jeff’s stomping bass lines and the blasting drumming of Paul Hayward allow guitarist Baz Foster to slice it up. It’s not for the faint hearted as it rages from start to finish with time for a minor sortie into sludge country for the delightfully titled Like Maggots They Infest. This is a tasty release which ticks all the boxes. 8/10
Ranger: Speed And Violence (Spinefarm Records)
Thrash metal from Helsinki with a distinctive sound set in the early 1980s? Yes, that is exactly what Ranger have managed to capture, with early Slayer, Exciter, Morbid Angel, Armored Saint and Exodus amongst the influences which hit you from the opening bars of Speed And Violence. Its fast, its furious and at times almost uncontrollable. With a production that belongs way back in the past Ranger are a throwback to the days of skin tight jeans, battle jackets and white hi-tops. Speed And Violence is the follow up to 2015’s Where Evil Dwells, which to be fair, sounded the same.
It does exactly what you would expect from a thrash band firmly cemented in an old-school sound; Dimi’s vocals a mix of King Diamond and Mille Petrozza. As well as the thrash influence, there is a huge Iron Maiden sound here as well; Without Warning contains parts that are lifted straight of the Irons debut. It’s not going to win awards for originality, with the 1984 Slayer-like sound of Satanic Panic and Night Slasher frankly ridiculous but it’s good fun if you like your thrash fast, heavy and routine. Oh, and don’t forget to gasp at the quite ludicrous album cover which may well win the worst of 2016. 6/10
Sonus Mortis: Hail The Tragedies Of Man (Self Released)
We seem to get a lot of multi-instrumentalists to review here at Musipedia and Sonus Mortis is another interesting piece of work. Hail The Tragedies Of Man is the work of Kevin Byrne who plays all instruments and sings too. This is the third release and follows last year’s War Prophecy. The combination of death and doom metal works well and the former Valediction man demonstrates his technical excellence throughout.
The combination of death growls and gothic tones of despair, themes of anger, despair and anti-religion and above all a pounding combination of heavy riffage, impressive battering blast beats and driving rhythms, the influences of such heavy weights as Behemoth, Septicflesh, Opeth, Anathema and the industrial drive of Gary Newman all hit you in one massive curled fist. The melancholic elements impress more than the more generic death grunts but this is a worthy slab. 7/10