The three of us who started this site are not big on thrash, which is probably obvious since we write infrequently about straight thrash-metal bands. It’s not that we judge it to be a lesser form of metal. It’s just a matter of taste. Speaking for myself, I like the energy, the speed, and the riffing style, but I’m not crazy about traditional thrash vocals and I tend to get bored with the sameness of the songs on many thrash albums. I’ve found that I like thrash a lot more live than I do on recordings (for example, I thought Exodus and Death Angel put on two hellaciously good performances in Seattle last year).
Needless to say, the re-thrash movement has held little interest for us. There’s nothing wrong with a band immersing itself in its influences, but when you tend to get bored even with the old masters, you tend to get really bored with rank imitators, even talented ones.
I still try to sample new thrash releases every now and then, hoping for a pleasant surprise. For example, I’ve been listening to the new album by Lazarus A.D. (Black Rivers Flow). I’m not sure I like it as much as the band’s debut (The Onslaught), but a couple of the songs are sticking with me (the title track and “The Strong Prevail”). Still, although I think devotees of thrash will probably enjoy this, on the whole this album isn’t ringing my chimes.
Still, I persevere, and sometimes it pays off. For example, over the weekend I gritted my teeth and started watching a new video from a Danish thrash band called Essence, while preparing to stop it quickly. But the song turned out to be different from what I was expecting, and not just different but really good — thrash with some unusual and original ingredients in the mix. (more after the jump, including the video . . .)
The video is for a song called “Blood Culture” off the band’s debut album, Lost In Violence, which will be released on February 25 via Belgium’s Ultimhate Records. What initially stopped me from hitting the “stop” button was the extended bass intro — a very cool piece of lower-register finger-tapping that got my head nodding as it gained and then lost speed. At about 1:25, the song proper starts, and it’s built around some speedy, catchy riffs and thankfully non-cheesy vocals. Beyond that, it includes a bass solo (!) along with the obligatory, but satisfying guitar solo.
These dudes are young, but man, they’re precocious. If “Blood Culture” is representative of what Lost in Violence has in store, I’m game to give the whole thing a shot. Essence look like they’d be fun to see on stage, too.
Here’s the video for “Blood Culture”:
For more info about Essence, go here.