Tag Archives: thrash metal

festival review: Iced Earth live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

One of the biggest names in heavy metal, over 25 years of experience in ruling the metal business and with ten full-length albums to their name – Iced Earth from United States was welcomed by a meager crowd with visibly less enthusiasts than one would hope to see at their concert. But that is neither the fault of the organizers, nor the band’s.

stu block iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 02

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As the headlining act at Bangalore Open Air’s 2013 edition, Iced Earth fit the bill perfectly considering their legacy and their ardor on stage. Iced Earth have composed songs for your party, and for your happiest moments, at the same time they have tracks about grimness, they make a human connection with their lyrics, also belt out music about their personal experiences. They have it all.

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With the preparations on Ronnie James Dio stage in order, the professionalism shown by the organizers and the arrangements on the performing platform in place, Iced Earth clasped the opportunity to do what they do best – Play heavy fucking metal. John Schaffer and co. unshackled years of their love for music by performing for an audience that is over 8000 miles away from where they hail from.

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Expecting chaos in the pit (which I am not fond of) during a performance people would die to be a part of I could see enough space for a pregnant lady or a potbellied fat fuck to walk around freely. luke appleton iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history Anyways, I focused on the instruments, the vocals and the sound and everything culminated into a favorable situation with even the weather not playing a spoilsport. The set-list included a mix of old classics like I Died For You and Iced Earth, as well as their newer material Dystopia and Anthem. Quite a band that names their track Anthem. Moving on, Stu Block blew the roof with his high pitch and if there was anyone who could replace Matt Barlow it is Stu. What a singer!

iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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But without Troy Steele and John Schaffer (on guitars), Luke Appleton (on bass) and Raphael Saini (on drums) we couldn’t have imagined such a spectacular display of metal unison. Well, I can go on and on about how unfortunate the band was for being able to spot the last person in the crowd, but then for us fans it was nothing less than a success. The gig and the festival. Beer, heavy metal and a true fan need no company. So, I shall just say thank you, Iced Earth. Just keep going…

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[ Pictures – courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha’s tumblr page ]


Metallica live on Jim Marshall Stage at Download Festival, 2012 : In pictures

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album review : Phantom Antichrist (2012) – Kreator

album : Phantom Antichrist

artist : Kreator

genre : Thrash Metal

year : 2012

The thrash veterans are making an attempt to master the laws of heavy metal so they can continue composing music albeit having lost their original identity somewhere.

That Burzum wore a t-shirt of Kreator‘s classic 1986 release Pleasure to Kill when he set out to stab Euronymous (guitarist, Mayhem) in the skull is not the only fact that makes this an exciting act to hear. While thrash metal had already taken shape in another part of the world, Germany had slowly started developing thrash giants in it’s womb. We all have masturbated to Sodom‘s music, and savoured Destruction‘s tracks umpteen times. Before Kreator became one of the game changers in German world of thrash, they went by the name of Tormentor. A few demos, an alteration in name, and a superior understanding of the genre helped them trudge their way to becoming a one of it’s kind band playing severely neck-damaging, frantic thrash. I know, I start talking blabbering about Burzum at the drop of a hat. Let’s get on with the review…

Apart from worshiping the genre gently, Phantom Antichrist, Kreator‘s thirteenth full-length, has a lot of soul in it. On one side you are enjoying an outbreak of pace on the songs, and on the other there is this strong rhythmic melody liberated by several of the sections, reminiscent of Accept‘s latest Stalingrad. Kreator has had it’s phases. We’ve been through a time when you could expect nothing but out and out thrash metal, when there was no scope for even the slightest bit of manouvering from the rigid path of thrash. Another one had them giving in to the demands of the ‘scene’ and in a bid to stay higher up in the race they compromised on what they were known for in the first place but they were still always listenable. Always. Painting themselves with sweet tunes, borrowing portions from melo-death also did not make their albums laughable. Times have definitely changed, and ones that speak the language of pure thrash are very few today and Kreator definitely isn’t one of them.

When I hear a thrash metal album today they all seem to lack the sound that defined the genre in the first place. Too much of clean production has affected the music adversely, thereby leading one to ask the most important question – is it the recording or is the band isn’t good enough? I’m a firm believer of rawness, and had any of the early 80’s thrash metal band’s album been produced the way it is done today, it would not have had a similar appeal or impact, neither would they have changed lives nor would they have enjoyed the cult status they went on to achieve. Phantom Antichrist‘s production is crystal clear, which is my biggest grouch with the record. If I push that out of the way, which I cannot, the music here has the ability to light up even the darkest of dungeon. With more than twenty two years of learning, preaching and teaching metal, this band seems to want to be remembered as long as there is metal.

Hordes of groove coming in the way of thrash, which hurriedly scatters the listener’s attention. Whether they hamper the flow or add flavor to the songs is purely a personal choice. Some wouldn’t mind that at all. But some might find them to be fun-spoiling moments. The abrupt breaks can be heard more on the title track, United In Hate and Your Heaven My Hell. Solos, played endlessly by lead guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö supports the spoken screams by Mille. By the way Mille is the only original member on the current line-up, who stuck to Kreator from the start. Heavy groove is spotted on the album on Death To The World, The Few The Proud The Broken and Your Heaven My Hell. I see strong old-Mille Petrozza moments on Civilisation Collapse where he does not feel the need to pause even for breathing.

There are several tracks on Phantom Antichrist that could be termed as anthems featuring lengthy guitar solos, chorus, better quality and more quantity of melody, and are sure to be crowd favorites during their live shows. I’d put From Flood Into Fire first on the list, followed by The Few The Proud The Broken and Victory Will Come. An unexpected Until Our Paths Cross Again happens just before the album’s closing. The song is surprisingly catchy, has an intro that’d remind one of Iron Maiden, and alternates between epic dreamy vocals and rapid riffing. Fan of thrash? – Don’t expect to be blown away by Phantom Antichrist and this stuff isn’t enough for you. Not a fan of thrash? – Still the guitar playing will lure you into repeating the songs again and again.

Phantom Antichrist, although more inclined towards heavy metal, is meant for an audience that is looking for a fully baked album which is explosive in it’s approach, is methodical yet brutal in it’s feel, contains adequate amounts of pain-killing solos and does not stick to organized thrash. Who would not be completely satisfied by Kreator‘s latest album? – A few of us who at a time believed that Kreator‘s aggression is unmatchable and their speed unbeatable. Phantom Antichrist is a proper decent effort by these thrash veterans, who are making an attempt to master the laws of heavy metal so they can pick and choose the proportion of elements they want to have in their music, and hence can continue to compose music. It would be interesting to watch them shed all the weight of expectations they seem to carry on their shoulders, and bring back the golden Kreator era’s original racket that would force us to wear their t-shirts and go on a killing spree. This planet requires a lot less human beings to begin with…

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Five Serpent’s Teeth (2011) – Evile

album : Five Serpent’s Teeth

artist : Evile

genre : Thrash Metal

year : 2011

Here comes a thrash album that blows so much air that keeping myself firmly on the ground is a little hard. With a form of metal that is the most angry, England-based Evile keep the anxiety component alive on their music. Treading along the line between pure thrash and modern thrash, Evile‘s third album Five Serpent’s Teeth has four thrash military soldiers who have been ordered to take things in their own hands and save the world from forgetting what thrash with high caliber is.

While Origin Of Oblivion, Descent Into Madness, Long Live New Flesh, Eternal Empire are out and out thrash tracks, there are a few others like the title track Five Serpent’s Teeth, Centurion and Xaraya that show us that Evile is also concentrating on minimizing the gap between modern thrash and the original form of the genre which is the way we have always known it. The lengthy guitar sections glow on several tracks on the album.

In Memorian is out of the thrash league, and is a very beautiful, powerfully soft serenade which you hope would play on and on. Solos reign major portions of the tracks as a thrash album would not be considered complete without them. Check out In Dreams Of Terror, Cult, Centurion and Descent Into Madness.

Evile has released two albums before this and they are pushing the envelope each time. I want to see them go all the way and make more and more thrash. With Five Serpent’s Teeth they have raised the curtains higher so more people can get to see them do their thing. So shout, Eeh-vile!

Rating : 4/5


album review : Kairos (2011) – Sepultura

album : Kairos

artist : Sepultura

genre : Thrash Metal/Groove/Hardcore

year : 2011

If you thought coffee and cocoa are the chief exports from Brazil then think again. For as long as I remember it is thrash from Brazil that has dominated the world thrash scene. That’s when I talk about thrash with class of course. We have prostitutes in every nook and corner of the world but we all have read where the classy ones are available, haven’t we? Shhh…

This is Sepultura‘s twelfth studio album, and Kairos is what we all wanted to hear in an year where there have been so less thrash releases. If we deduct the bonus tracks then Kairos has fifteen tracks on it. While it played I did not even realize that so many tracks actually got over. This, friends, is a sign that Kairos doesn’t just protect the genre but adds extra caps to that glorious speedy nature of thrash music with ample amount of groove in it.

Sepultura got acclimatized to thrash metal in the initial days of their formation announcing their stay here for a pretty fucking long time. Man, did they keep their word or what. They still have so much of fresh material with them and the attitude to materialize the same. Kairos has a force and determination in it that it pins you down while hearing it for the first time. They walk the thin line between thrash and hardcore. Something which can be defined as ‘thrashcore’, and the vocals justify the term. I speak for Kairos, Dialog, Mask and No One Will Stand. Also, be ready for loads of solos that are going to please you.

Mid-song experiments where the band is trying to play with the song’s tempo happens a lot on Kairos. Most actively on Relentless, Just One Fix, Born Strong and Structure Violence (Azzes). Out of the four tracks that go the names 2011, 1433, 5772 and 4648 respectively, only 4648 is a full-length track. The rest three are just there as thirty-second fillers so that you get a grip of what is going on the album. What particularly is a drawback here is the fact that I did not want to play this album the fourth time. Strange, but I’m not one to force an album down my earlobes. I enjoyed it while I played it but that’s about it.

Except for drummer Jean Dolabella (who is 33 years old) the rest of the band members have entered the quadragenarian stage of their lives, and I must say they have made this entry with grace. It would be a treat to watch Sepultura play songs from Kairos live in a concert as the songs are constructed for live audiences. How I want them to return back to India for the second time loaded with songs from Kairos. It’s time Sepultura hogs the limelight once again in 2011 as I am getting to give a heartily positive opinion about Kairos. The band isn’t hitting their musical menopause anytime soon.

Rating : 3/5


album review : Day of Reckoning (2011) – Destruction

album : Day of Reckoning

artist : Destruction

genre : Thrash Metal

year : 2011

Basing themselves in Germany, thrash metal maniacs Destruction have never gone unheard. They abide by the rules of making metal for the sake of keeping it real and might I add they make thrash metal the way it should be done. Day of Reckoning has eleven speed-worshipping tracks that have been done for the betterment of thrash metal. Marcel Schirmer sings (or rather, speaks) devotedly helping his band-mates to think faster. Mike Sifringer pulls his guitar and works along with Vaaver who makes the sponsors of his kit fucking proud. Waging themselves in a war against religion, the riffing and soloing reminds you that there is only one religion – music. The album cover could have done with less bling on it but who cares, at least they know how to keep the contents of the compact disc tight. This is Destruction‘s eleventh album and they should just continue, probably they haven’t yet reached where they want to go. There can be only band like Destruction, like there can be only one blog like Absurd History. Be a part of this tribute that Destruction pays to extreme aggression.

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Sounds of Violence (2011) – Onslaught

album : Sounds of Violence

artist : Onslaught

genre : Thrash Metal

year : 2011

thrash thrash baby!

A series of pleasurable thrash metal albums have been on the loose, and these bands have not allowed the debate to go against them. Sodom did it, Violator carried it forward, Tankard didn’t disappoint, Legion of the Damned delivered and now it is Onslaught ready with the brute force.

Sounds of Violence is the fifth release by chaotic thrashers Onslaught and this album from Great Britain is going to be noticed by the entire thrash community. Fans would hear this album with their ears erect and would slowly loosen their grip as they’d find their favorite band on fire. I’d highly recommend tracks like Born For War, Code Black, Godhead and Antitheist.

Not another Motörhead cover, but seriously there is one present on this album too. Onslaught choose Bomber from Lemmy‘s 1979 classic album. Joining the band on this cover is the guitarist of Motörhead Phil Campbell and Tom Angelripper (Sodom). One problem that I have, not just with Onslaught but with all the thrash bands, is the choice of their sound and production. Even though the music is terrific and tight it is the production where these bands score less.

Onslaught can now take it’s time before re-entering the studio considering they have not allowed the bees to build their hive. Thanks to the calculated noise they have presented on Sounds of Violence. Let the thrashing begin.

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Vol(l)ume 14 (2010) – Tankard

album : Vol(l)ume 14

artist : Tankard

genre : Thrash Metal

year : 2010

If there is one band that I get reminded of when I hear the word ‘alcohol’ is Tankard. The word itself means a huge drinking vessel, and the band has left no stone unturned in promoting alcohol. So much so that they are even referred to as pioneers of Alcoholic Metal. And there isn’t any other metal band getting closer because Tankard does it the most and they do it right.

German thrash bands have played quite a role in teaching rest of the world about this genre. Consistently showcasing what is right and what is wrong in thrash got them an extraordinary following. Cutting right through these major bands was a four-piece Tankard who have managed to be high (pun unintended) up there. And for once they aren’t talking about drinking, as I hear their fourteenth album Vol(l)ume 14.

Magnifying the quality of thrash are the ten tracks that Vol(l)ume 14 stocks. Call it oiling their skills or lack of similar skills in several other bands, Tankard treats you to some needed material. If Rules For Fools and The Agency settle for groove, then Somewhere In Nowhere and Beck’s In The City bank on the speed factor. Demystifying intensity by giving it to you straight are the tracks Weekend Warriors and Time Warp, while Fat Snatchers (The Hippo Effect) and Condemnation purely pay tribute to thrash.

These predictable thrashers have packed a punch on Vol(l)ume 14 and made sure the ball is in their court.

Rating : 4/5


album review : Crime Always Pays… (2010) – Swashbuckle

album : Crime Always Pays…

artist : Swashbuckle

genre : Thrash Metal

year : 2010

Remember the band that talked about pirates on their last two albums? Thrashers Swashbuckle are back and have retained their favorite subject on this record too. They chose to have the one-eyed pirate stay on their album cover again and this ugly figure can be called Swashbuckle‘s mascot now. Crime Always Pays… is their third album and it released this year.

The album has an unconventional folk-sounding intro named Slowly Wept the Sea and this makes way for a raw thrash track We are the storm. This Round’s on You! is the third track on an album that contains sixteen of them. Probably something that wouldn’t go down well with many listeners, having sixteen tracks is like combining two thrash albums.

Swashbuckle definitely does not have anything that would make you skip your father’s wedding but they are atleast keeping the genre alive. All the time talking about pirates ofcourse. Of Hooks and Hornswogglers and Legacy’s Allure are instrumentals and have been put together well with a complete acoustic setup. Pleasing the listener with a good amount of melody, most of the tracks manage to outshine your expectations.

All in all Swashbuckle is three albums old and have done pretty well for themselves. They are metal enough although the band’s name isn’t. Crime Always Pays… is a grouping together of a lot of melodic thrash tracks and nowhere in between will you say you’ve had enough. Hear them.

Rating : 3/5


album review : The Cold (2010) – Flotsam and Jetsam

album : The Cold

artist : Flotsam and Jetsam

genre : Power/Thrash Metal

year : 2010

Metal veterans Flotsam and Jetsam release their tenth album in 2010 and it contains ten tracks. Coincidence?

Flotsam and Jetsam had begun as a thrash metal band way back in 1986 and after almost twenty five years of making music they have not changed the basic identity of the band and that is thrash. Other elements strengthening their songs are always seen and their 2010 album The Cold is progressive power thrash.

Making one sing praises for their new album does not seem like a hard thing for them. The opening minute itself has a hint that they are offering something special. Tracks that walk the progressive thrash line without deviation are Blackened Eyes Staring, Hypocrite, Take and Black Cloud. Wetting your pants even more are the solos on the title track The Cold, Blackened Eyes Staring and Falling Short.

Better Off Dead has an acoustic intro and is one of my favorites. It’s about everything that would make you hope that you were better off dead. Vocalist plays a role that is greater than that of the instruments here. I share similar feelings for Secret Life. Falling Short, Always and K.Y.A. start with thrash and end with thrash. This is what I was talking about initially. Going by the lyrics of K.Y.A. it stands for kick your ass and they do it really well.

I do not remember the last time I discussed this band with anybody. If you haven’t heard Flotsam and Jetsam yet then do so and starting with The Cold would not be a bad idea although there is a hell lot they have in store for you.

Rating : 3.5/5


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