Saturday, January 31, 2015



Writing all the bands out that are heroes of this beast takes me almost pretty much the same time as writing tens words describing the reading whole. This issue of Thrash Attack called The 10th Crusade…  30 Years of German Speed and Thrash Metal and probably the last such a performance of Florian Grill, is my first meeting with the subject, however I can compare it to a close encounter of the third kind. Yes, two hundred and twelve pages in A4 demy make this monster the biggest one in my paper collection till then. What is more, I didn’t find here any useless or lame band, as the thrash/speed is the only thing that counts through the pages. Well, it’s great because I’ve been thrashing disciple since the ages. This time Florian decided to describe bands comings from his homeland only, so, to put it briefly, I had to face pure Teutonic Invasion. And what? I bow to the work Florian did during all those eighteen months as he stated in introduction. To visualize you the essence, unplacable is moving into the realm of mathematics. Thus, let’s the numbers speak for themselves: 38 interviews with 934 asked questions, 236 reviews of musical and 27 zine forms, 31 live reports + one long report from Finland, 28 short bands introductions (both old forgotten like Sweet Cheater, Airwolf, Pain, Atlain and newer ones). Ha, of course if I counted well. But I didn’t hearten to totalize all the pictures, drawings and scans. Florian also included one article about overlooked records (that are buried in the waves of releases as he rightly claims), which is absolutely nothing new, yet such rummaging in metal history gives me a real pleasure every time; what’s more, totally exciting Neudi (now in Manilla Road behind the drums) and Sigi (Hellish Crossfire) memories. That’s not the end, we have next jump into the history in Let’s Thrash! – Thrash Metal in GDR article, as well as in Tribute to the Big 4, which is in fact several questions on Sodom, Destruction, Kreator and Tankard activities.  

As far as I am concerned, it took me a dozen or so weeks to get through these thickets of letters and now it is almost impossible to choose the best conversation. At least a half of it means absolutely splendid piece of reading showing Florian a paleontologist that reveals the fossil remains begraved in the deepest layers. He is perfectly fully-fledged, his questions effectively strike the minds of the bands members making the whole more than interesting. But I have to indicate one fly in the ointment which is Nocturnal Witch intie undoubtedly: short, laconic answers, a real waste of time. Other bands like Vendetta and Living Death didn’t show off as well. And vice versa, just take a fascinating read of Poison (exceptionally done by Laurent Ramadier) with seven pages and 85 questions. It’s a fucking reader madness! Another worth-while metal meetings: definitely with Paradox (with interesting statement “in all other genres of art, bands like Exodus would be millionaires”), Assassin (I wonder whether the band managed to visit some label in Brazil…), Protector, Poseidon, Wardance, Warrant, Mad Butcher… No, it doesn’t have any sense to duplicate the content.

So, are there any complaints? Yes, I have to point the finger at huge amount of typos, mistakes and grammatical and spelling errors. Careful proofreading is necessary when it refers to such a wall of texts. Another thing is the Florian’s English. He uses it a simple way, it’s readable and fully understandable. I like the layout very much, it is stylized on the old ancient zines, copy & paste method with cool drawings decorated by memorable cover art, all in white and black. The reviews Florian did are given in few sentences, strictly to the bone, however I like longer ones. And believe me, he can be critical too.

To sum all the things up: this piece of paper is definitely unique in my press collection. Not only because of its number of pages making Thrash Attack booklike, but also for a total dedication to thrashing scene. It’s great that is printed in English as my German is equal to zero. I met many unknown (old) crews and began to search for another titles enriching my metal world. I have been enslaved by the written power of metal for many long weeks, and for sure I’m going to return to the Thrash Attack kingdom as often as possible. With beer in my hand, with Teutonic injection spreading over my senses, damn, this is the way I can feel it. And mind you, I bought my copy in the second half of the last year and I’ve no idea if it is still available at Florian’s address, but this title is a moral duty for the souls hot-hammered by Thrash Metal. 

Florian Grill 

- Tlacaxipehualiztli

(written on January, 2015)


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

REPULSOR - Trapped in a Nightmare (2014)

The Ghoulish Acceleration 

It’s hard to believe but this is the first Repulsor band’s name in metal world! And knowing nothing about the Repulsor music and glimpsing at front cover, one could arrive at conclusion, that this band is another rotten crew dealing with putrid old school death metal. The young and frightened long-haired woman has no chance to run away as the hungry ghouls are nearby ready to bloody feast. That’s true the front cover painted by Guatemalan artist Mario López rivets my attention, yet it cannot be any determinant to praise it blindly from the start. But Repulsor is not going to show any sweetness, the band strikes my senses without mercy with frenzied riffs and pounding drums cannonade in the vein of old thrashing speed. The first track “Toxic Tomorrow” literally chops my head off. And when I recall the interview with the band done by Tomek Woźniak in his “Pure Metal” from October, 2013 (this special number concerning mainly new Polish crews was called “Pure Thrash” practically), the name of Sadus and their second album “Swallowed in Black” was called by Filip Strzemieczny, bassist and vocalist. And bloody hell, these Gdańsk citizens give such a devastating music. The base is bestial speed here, and it has to be precise kick into the forehead from the first second. The whole is supported by decent production, I mean the guitars have rawness and severity making this title something unique in nowadays soulless recordings. Maybe at the start the drums seemed to be too dry, however during many fruitful listens I got into a groove luckily.

And even if the second “R.M.D.H.” (read it: Real Moshers – Die Hard) is faster a bit and much longer, nobody can accuse them of being boring. What is more, musicians prove their skills, not only by bringing many tempo changes, but also providing many catchy and interesting guitar riffs. And yes, I mentioned Sadus, but another well-known outfits should be given as main influence as well: Exodus and Metallica with their debut albums, also Slayer with “Hell Awaits”. Vocals go the same I think, Filip manner is quite clear and understandable, he yells and shouts being just a proper block in this thrashing wall. Musically the first six songs are old stuff recorded in 2013, the remainder consisting of three shots is the effect of a deal signed with Thrashing Madness. So, musically thrash avalanche spreads its destructive wings through two first songs and it… ends in silence. Then something wrong is going in the kingdom of Repulsor when “The Summoning” enters the stage. This instrumental piece lasting about one minute disconcerts me effectively. It’s not a bad musical form, but its place should be on the beginning, or on the end as a some kind of calmer tune. Anyway, it is like an irritating commercial during good movie…

… giving a place “To the Coven” luckily. This is a real storm! Again with unhampered aggression and deathly acceleration, it lashes out at awhaped senses. And believe me, “Killing Instinct” (great chorus) and “Stained Heritage” with splendid guitar leads (especially the ending madness!) aren’t worse at all. Suchwise the first part is finished. The second one, recorded in 2014, shows different way of production, lower and with more underground touch. I cannot say it is like a weak coffee, no, I like it very much, especially stronger parts of Filip bass lines, yet it makes the whole substance less coherent. Anyway, musically seems the band has still something to say / thrash, as the song structures became longer, not throwing up tempo changes and well-thought leads performances. A real glace cherry is the ending “Repulsive Oppressor”, the longest amidst the blood thirsty monsters, with steady beginning turns after almost fifty seconds into Slayer screaming love-child. Then Repulsor amazes me by pretty long lead that ends this release. Hey lads, it’s not oppressive, it’s a really gorgeous piece of metal!

Summing the stuff up, I have to admit it kicks my thrash ass beyond the shadow of a doubt. Visually very good and memorable artwork merged with decent layout and booklet, is a proper complement to the musical side. The final effect is really lethal. Looking ahead, I hope Repulsor turns to full account its evident thrashing force to dominate the Polish scene. The challenging task I guess as there are couple of interesting and promising bands with Thermit in capite, however they have everything to do something really amazing in the crowded scene. That’s true they are tackling the permanent line-up changes, especially when it comes to the guitarist job, yet I strongly believe that Filip and Michał won’t give the thing up. Definitely this band should be praised above the moon, because when I meditate about something interesting coming from Gdańsk, I can see only such degenerations like speedway riders of fallen Wybrzeże or football players from Lechia. Great that Repulsor is alive, it brings some optimism from that Pomeranian location. Nowadays, as many bands are immersed in thrash fashion and it is very hard to find a better one, check the band out and give them a chance despite of aforementioned incoherentness. After all, the music is the only thing that counts. So don’t hesitate and be trapped in this thrashing slashing nightmare. Just like me.   


(written on January, 2015)             

Sunday, January 11, 2015

ZARPA - Bestias del poder (2014)

Quaffing the Metal Extract

While I added this eleventh album of Spanish Zarpa to the Encyclopaedia Metallum site, I was just… proud. The band has been active for almost forty years (with several years of break), still with unflagging Vicente Feijóo as a commander. And writing about this band I know how contrarious can be searching for any new metal band. I would be liar in root and grain announcing to all concerned I have been worshipping Zarpa since time immemorial. No, of course not, and even I have drowned in metallic dimension for twenty five years by now, I met Zarpa while listening to the compilation release “La Zarpa y el sable” unleashed in 2009 with Hard Rocker magazine. What is more, it was completely unplanned purchase as the magazine simply fell short of my expectations. Anyway, the music of Zarpa made an indelible impression on my metal world, especially the oldest song “Herederos de un imperio” transvalued my eighties heavy metal ranking: the album recorded with the same title as aforementioned song became one of the best album created at that time. I knew I had found a heavy metal treasure.
Now, in totally different times and reality, the band is still active giving new albums to the poor world. Matter of course, the child of Vicente changed and matured, however the present style initiated few albums ago continues. Being placed in strong undisputed heavy metal fumes, Vicente as the only composer of both music and lyrics, has a simple formula how to make splendid sounds: melody and technique supported by passion, remarkable talent and experience. As clear as crystal, isn’t it? And the opening song “Alma inmortal” proves my words. With fantastic stellar and organic production, such different as compared to many nowadays releases, it rams the doors to my heart down. This is perfect opening killer, maintained in rather not too fast tempo. It has everything I loved the band for: powerful memorable riffs, strong, masculine and expressive Vicente vocals sung in Spanish as always, amazing and catchy chorus lines, smashing lead guitar performance with raving rhythm section. Ha, for me it isn’t anything new knowing some tracks from the compilation, yet “Bestias del poder” couldn’t have a better start, however during many meetings with this album, I find the next song “El reino de la verdad” probably more devastating. It is way slower, however all descriptions I gave above, I could assign directly to this great track. And to be more precise, these slower songs simply rule amongst the rest: “No me dejes caer”, “Pecado mortal”, “Sentado frente al espejo” or the closing one “Torres de Babel”. They are the best on this album.
Does the foregoing sentence mean the faster tracks of “Bestias del poder” are weaker? Yes and no. Well, let’s listen to “Metal Bats” or “Jaque al rey”, “Maquina del tiempo”, “Dioses del rock” (with strong hard rock touch) and the second part of title fantastic song: then the Spaniards are synonym of heavy metal hurricane that causes sonic mass destruction. Fast, furious, are the violent face of Zarpa bringing another way to worship this album. But there is a need to mention about two pieces “En la batalla” (however great slowdown is offered here) and “Dentro de ti, dentro de mi”, I considered them as the gap fillers on the start, yet during countless meetings with the album, I would write they are… ok, up to standard and nothing else unfortunately, or maybe the remainder is maintained on such great level? Ha, it’s quite possible. This duplet I want to compare to another pair with killers entitled “Dansa de la oscuridad” and “Demoniocracia”, being something different in the kingdom of Zarpa. The first one is a kind of some gloomy ballad, however the beginning of the track may mislead due to nice drums cannonade. It glitters with all the best musical and vocal meanings Zarpa can give, where I admire the slowest long guitar lead, great choirs and keyboards. And when I was pondering about unforgettable sense impressions that “Dansa de la oscuridad” brought to my world, I arrive at conclusion these splendid tunes would be proper soundtrack to… fairy-tale. While closing my eyes I become a wayfarer visiting some unknown lands… I didn’t expect such a feeling! All right, let’s back to the second “Demoniocracia”: the tempo is similar here, with many broken structures, untypical keyboards and guitar leads passages that make strange, let’s say even cosmic aura, full of internal growing anxiety. “Demoniocracia” is ended by short speedup, giving place the last fifteenth amazing highlight “Torres de Babel”. Like an inquiring laborant I extract the heavy metal radicle. I’m just speechless…

Looking through the album content consisting of many songs on the very beginning, I was afraid a bit. Such amount for the heavy metal album is just enormous, Vicente could divide it into two separate recordings as well. Mind you, there are no any needful introductions, covers or instrumental fillers that enlenghten the whole by artificial means. I got almost 64 minutes of pure music written especially for “Bestias del poder”. The wealth of vocal and musical forms simply captivates me. Despite of two weaker a bit shots that don’t have significant effect on the final mark and keyboards using in plentiful way in few songs, this album brings absolutely killing heavy metal music. I didn’t find any signs of boredom or catnap moments, having my mind obsessed by Bestias since the very first second of “Alma inmortal” to the closing sound of “Torres de Babel”, I easily drift and travel through Zarpa dominion, struck by juggling emotions and moods. It is not a convulsion or agony of the old men that brings rinsings of the once lost fame, it is not a reunion album or fake compilation with awful quality live recordings, at last, it is not a subreption. It is just another great album of the great band. And I can clearly see and feel that future looks pretty fine for the band. I mean, I wait for the next album equanimously.   


(written on January, 2015)