EARLY MAN @ Spaceland, Silverlake (3/26/09)

Remember that feeling early ANTHRAX, METALLICA, and MEGADETH records gave you? Well, despite press releases and marketing blurbs, bands like SHADOWS FALL never truly elicit those vibes. This reviving crop of “retro thrash” bands on the other hand (like MUNICIPAL WASTE, TOXIC HOLOCAUST, and EARLY MAN), certainly tap into said old school charm… and with no modern relevance whatsoever. And therein lies the beauty.

This night at Spaceland in Silverlake, EARLY MAN took to the stage like out of a Cliff ‘em All segment with every heavy metal cliche intact… the clothes, the hair, and of course the music. The crowd, an older demographic (and generally subdued in typical LA fashion), were prepped to immerse themselves in some furious metallic nostalgia. And that, they delivered.

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Thrasho De Mayo IV Lineup Announced

This year’s Thrasho De Mayo IV is set to take place May 1st at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, CA.  The latest installment of the thrash-fest will mark the North American live debut of German thrash legends, EXUMER. Here’s the full lineup:

Main Stage:
EXUMER
MERCILESS DEATH
FUELED BY FIRE
SAKRIFICER
SAVAGE SKULL
DIAMOND PLATE
MORTRUM

Front Stage:
BONDED BY BLOOD
WITCHAVEN
EXMORTUS
ARMORED ASSASSIN
VINDICATOR
HEXEN
DISMANTEL

Tickets are on sale now at Ticketweb.com, or through the Knitting Factory box office. For more information visit www.churchofthe8thday.com.

Check out video footage of FUELED BY FIRE at Thrasho De Mayo I

MUNICIPAL WASTE: The Art of Thrashing

If there’s one band’s success that has forced labels scrambling to sign retro-thrash bands, it’s Richmond, Virginia’s MUNICIPAL WASTE. Taking the best of the worlds of classic punk, hardcore, and thrash, the band add their own attitude and style to create some of the best crossover music in decades. The WASTE‘s new album, The Art of Partying, does just that while continuing where 2005′s excellent Hazardous Mutation left off but with added thrashing fury. APESHIT hung out with vocalist, Tony Foresta and drumgod Dave Witte during one of the stops on their recent tour with SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. What we learned was that despite their comedy-induced image, MUNICIPAL WASTE are dead serious about their music.

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WARBRINGER Sign with Century Media; To Tour with EXODUS

Ventura, California thrash band, WARBRINGER, have signed a worldwide deal with Century Media Records. They will unleash their as-yet-untitled album, produced by Bill Metoyer (SLAYER, D.R.I., SACRED REICH), in January coinciding with a national tour with EXODUS.

Vocalist John Kevill commented on the signing, “before we even had this band we all had bought a bunch of metal albums released on Century Media, so for us to be on this label that has had all these bands we like on it is just awesome!”

When pressed about the band’s sound, Kevill had the following to say: “We try to keep our songs very compact and tend not have a ton of repetition. Thrash-wise, our primary influence is stuff like mid-era SACRIFICE, early SLAYER, DEMOLITION HAMMER, and KREATOR. Heavy and fast! We often have an old-school death metal undertone to our music as well.” Check out the band’s MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/warbringer.

MENDEED – The Dead Live By Love

Despite what may sound like the title to a poor emo band you might find at a trendy store in the mall, The Dead Live By Love is actually the newest album by UK thrashers MENDEED. This new release is an excellent combination of talented modern thrash metal and 80′s metal inspiration and influence. MENDEED have been around in the UK since 2004, but this album should help secure their standing as an up and coming band worldwide. They sound like what you may get if Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM made a full on thrash album with no keyboards and Alexi Laiho occasionally threw in 80’s rock style vocals. The result is a stylishly executed thrash sound that should get the attention of the metal community, and there is no skimping in the guitar department with excellent riffs and solos. With twelve tracks of uncompromising, talented songwriting, MENDEED does not sell you short, and the album is well worth your cash. The Dead Live By Love runs the gamut of thrash metal, and the band has no problem displaying their versatility. Stand out tracks are “Gravedigger,” “Blood Brothers,” “Reload ‘n’ Kill,” and “It’s Not Over Yet.” Some new school fans may not like the 80’s rock clean vocal homage, but most metalheads should find this kind of influence refreshing in that it does not rehash operatic vocals like stereotypical power metal bands. (Nuclear Blast Records)

BIOMECHANICAL: New Album to Be Called Cannibalised

UK metallers BIOMECHANICAL have set Cannibalised as the title of their follow-up to 2005′s impressive The Empires of the Worlds.  The band will begin recording the effort at vocalist John K.‘s studio in November with mixing scheduled for January.

John K. commented on the upcoming album: “We’ve started writing non-stop for the new album and so far the songs sound ripping!! We’re very exited about the new stuff. It will be as heavy as, if not heavier than, The Empires of the Worlds, but with more melodic writing within the tracks, something that has been a BIOMECHANICAL trademark. The orchestral writing will be intense and the solos will be ripping as ever, so we can’t wait to record this mutha!!”

Cannibalised is tentatively scheduled for an April 2007 release through Earache Records.

SLAYER – Christ Illusion

There’s no denying SLAYER‘s influence on heavy music since their inception over a quarter of a century ago, as genres as varied as thrash, hardcore, black metal, death, grind, and even crust punk owe much to the titans of speed. Every year there seems to be an almost unending supply of bands striving to capture SLAYER‘s intensity and sound yet try as they might, these imitators always fall short. On Christ Illusion (SLAYER‘s ninth album), the band succeeds in putting critics and naysayers in their place as well as showing posers how it’s done, with searing openers, “Fleshstorm” and “Catalyst,” both setting the stage for the barrage to come. Although “Jihad” may cause controversy with it’s “from a terrorist’s perspective standpoint,” it’s also one of Christ Illusion‘s most adventurous tracks, with the band weaving a variety of syncopated time, riff, and tempo changes throughout the course of a three-minute song. “Skeleton Christ” also incorporates a varying range of peaks and valleys within its confined space, easily dispelling the myth that all SLAYER songs sound the same. On “Catatonic” one of the band’s slowest songs to date, the band’s sludgy, monolithic riffs still deliver ample amounts of heaviness despite its pace before bringing it home with a breakdown section that’s sure to turn the pit in to a battleground. Speed fanatics need not worry though, as Christ Illusion is packed with tons of chaotic urgency throughout the album, but mostly notably on album closer, “Supremist,” which has human drum tornado Dave Lombardo delivering albeit sparingly, the first blast beats in SLAYER history. Lombardo‘s performance goes without saying as he pulls out all the stops, performing a virtual drum clinic and pushing the album into overdrive throughout the album’s ten tracks. Shredders Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman are also in fine form holding nothing back, as the duo rip, slash and dive bomb the listener with a flurry of fret burning, throw caution into the wind guitar solos before returning quickly to precise, razor sharp riffing. Araya‘s vocals weave tales of death, violence, and aggression that quickly silence any notion that he or the band have gone soft. All in all, a fine return to form a band that never really left like a volcano that lay dormant before finally unleashing an eruption of fire and rage. “Hail Satan!” (Warner Bros. Records)