Kreator: Gods Of Violence (Nuclear Blast)
The German thrash veterans return with album no 14, a solid, reliable long player. Full of their usual anthemic raging tunes, Gods Of Violence does exactly what it says on the Kreator tin. It's been five long years since Phantom Antichrist. With the line up settled since 2001, the band are now at the stage in their career where they can really do what they do, balls to the rest. And they stick to the plan.
Raging thrash, with tonnes of melody. Millie Petrozza’s instantly recognisable vocals snarling their way through each song, gut slicing guitar work from Petrozza and Sam Yli Sirino and astonishingly heavy rhythm work courtesy of Juergen Reil and Christian Giesler. Kreator have long epitomised the German thrash scene and like their US counterparts Overkill, each release consists further building blocks in their brutal catalogue.
Nothing mind blowingly original but oh so enjoyable. Picks of Gods Of Violence for me are the fabulous Death Becomes My Light, a seven minute composition with verse elements of the mighty Iron Maiden, the title track and the early release Satan Is Real. However, there really isn't a bad tune on this beast. An essential listen for the thrash fan. 8/10
Overkill: The Grinding Wheel (Nuclear Blast)
Where do you start with Overkill? One of he most important thrash bands of all time, the New Jersey legends continue to make quality albums. Instantly recognisable due to their heavy groove and Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth’s vocal attack, the band maintain their unique sound on album number 18. Yes, 18 albums and the first since 2014’s masterful White Devil Armory. The Grinding Wheel contains several lengthy thrash masterpieces with half the albums ten tracks passing the six minute mark.
The majesty of opener Mean Green Killing Machine hits hard and heavy, DD Verni’s rampant bass lines supporting Ron Lipnicki’s clinical drumming whilst the slicing axe work of lead Dave Linsk and rhythm guitarist Derek Tanler is dangerously sharp. There is no filler on this bad boy, with the relentless assault carried to the full on tracks such as Our Finest Hour, Come Heavy and the monster stomp of the groove laden Shine On.
However, the piece-de-resistance has to be the closing track, the eight minute title track which is just stunning. A departure from the usual Overkill style whilst remaining as thrashy as a box of freshly caught halibut. A stable line up and an immense commitment to their beliefs leaves Overkill as one of the legends of not only thrash but all heavy metal. Go get some. It would be fucking rude not too. 9/10
Hour of Penance: Cast The First Stone (Prosthetic)
The Italian technical death metallers hit hard and fast with album no 7, Cast The First Stone the first release since 2014’s Regicide, this is a pummeling assault from start to finish. Brutal blast beats from drummer James Payne mix perfectly with the pounding bass lines of Marco Mastronuno whilst the shredding of senior member Giulio Moschini and Paolo Peirini is frightening in its intensity.
Opener XXI Century Imperial Crusade sets the pace, which doesn't let up until the final bars of closer Damnation Memoriae. Peirini’s vocals are powerful and gruff, grunting and growling throughout the onslaught. There is plenty of hooks and underlying melody, you've just got to work to find it and that's no bad thing. The band will be playing a set at the Bristol Death Fest in April. I suggest you get your arse along but strap your head on as this will blow it clean off. Fucking A! 9/10