(We present Todd Manning‘s review of the new album by Terrorizer, set for release by The End Records on October 12th.)
There’s no need to belabor the point that most metalheads feel a sense of trepidation when a band known for their old school classic output puts out new material in this day and age. Admittedly, Terrorizer have been back for a while now, first with 2006’s aptly titled Darker Days Ahead, followed by 2012’s Hordes of Zombies. Each release has featured shifts in lineup, and their newest, Caustic Attack, is no different. But with Pete Sandoval as the only remaining member from both the original and the subsequent lineups, how does Terrorizer now intend to capture the essence of their own sound?
We’ll come back to that question in just a minute. First, let’s talk about who is in the new lineup. For Caustic Attack Pete Sandoval recruited Sam Molina on bass and vocals along with Lee Harrison on guitars. Both are primarily known for their work with Death Metal heavyweights Monstrosity, with Harrison’s tenure as the band’s drummer stretching all the way back to 1992’s classic Imperial Doom.
So now, how does this lineup answer our question? Does Terrorizer sound like Terrorizer? Well, sort of…
The thing is, all parties involved certainly sound very inspired by Terrorizer, and at times they succeed in sounding like their namesake. Other times. though, all that time spent in Morbid Angel for Sandoval and Monstrosity for Molina and Harrison can’t help but give the proceedings a very Death Metal flavor, eschewing the more Grindcore/Punk/Hardcore vibe of this band’s seminal release, 1989’s World Downfall. For some, this might be a bad thing, but what I quickly came to realize after just a couple of spins is that while this is no World Downfall, Caustic Attack absolutely slays in its own way.
Make no mistake, at times this lineup does hit upon pure Grindcore gold. “Poison Gas Tsunami” is exactly the kind of whirlwind of physical violence the name implies, while the title track gives Sandoval a chance to show the world that despite decades in the game and a back surgery to boot, his skills haven’t diminished in the least. Another highlight is the ripping insanity of “Failed Assassin”, a track that only understands two speeds, fast and faster.
But Terrorizer explore another mode throughout the album as well. For instance, album opener “Turbulence” starts off with paint-peeling grind, but near the halfway mark of the song’s two-minutes they shift gears and Sandoval and company start to channel their inner Slayer.
They employ any number of slower, ride-cymbal-driven riffs to break up the blasts throughout the album, and to great success. When not channeling bits of Live Undead and Mandatory Suicide, they are sneaking in riffs that would’ve worked comfortably in Morbid Angel and Monstrosity’s catalog as well. In fact, the majority of the record is composed of such a Death/Grind hybrid. This might not be World Downfall, but truth is, there isn’t a bad riff to be found.
There are those who won’t give this a chance because it’s not World Downfall, and because there’s no Jesse Pintado or Oscar Garcia to be found. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d fall into that camp myself going into this, but I’m glad I gave Caustic Attack a chance. It might not be pure Grindcore glory, but this album rips from start to finish, and I can’t seem to stop listening to it.