Style: Groove/Thrash Metal
Release Date: 8 Mar 2019
It's my birthday so I thought I'd pause my global search for interesting rock and metal for some old stand bys. First on the list: let's find some German thrash!
Suicidius were formed in 2014 and this is their first album, after an EP last year called When We Come to Town. It starts out exactly what I was looking for but grows into something else besides. I enjoyed it.
Much of what I was looking for is evident on the opening title track. It demonstrates the band's cohesion and speed from moment one, coming out of the gates like a locomotive. It does take its time getting to where it's going though, the song being well over a minute longer than anything else on offer. This is good stuff! What's extra to my expectations is a groove metal overlay with a guitar that sounds rather like an industrial sander and vocals that remind more of Sepultura than Kreator.
I say overlay, because many of the songs here kick off very much like old school thrash, only to add groove metal elements like a mask. It isn't a full disguise, with the music changing halfway through, like they stopped being one band and became another. The thrash band I believe they started out as are always there, most evident in the drumming of Oliver Lenz, but that groove layer is added often, especially by introducing punkier vocals and shifting from technical thrash riffing to prowling bass.
There's definitely an attitude in the latter approach too, as if the band want to lash out at something with power rather than just destroy it with speed. They demonstrate a strong Motörhead influence on Thunder and back it up with Fuck It All, the first of two obvious message songs, the other being Fuck the System.
Valhalla moves in a different direction though. The drums go even faster and the vocals move into death territory. It's the other long song, for a band who seem to prefer three to five minute songs, at least, and this is six and a half. It seems like they needed the extra time to explore those extra subgenres. If it's a somewhat schizophrenic song, it's a good one at least, even if the cleaner vocals are a real stretch. It even ends with a melodic old school ending reminiscent of the Scorpions which leads right into the two minute interlude that is Legacy of Chaos.
Fuck the System turns out to be a completely different animal to Fuck It All. That was all aggressive punk, while this one is technical metal with a progressive edge. For a while it can't be sure if it wants to wear that groove mask or not but there's another neat thrash section three minutes in. I certainly prefer Suicidius as a thrash band but they're interesting as a groove band too and I think the groove side works best when it's not taking over. This applies as much for This is Hell as for Fuck the System.
The second half of the album is definitely interesting. Brotherhood has a power metal edge to it, which is strange because it's a change not only of type but tone. This is much more upbeat than anything else on the album, with the groove side adding a weight to proceedings. It's odd for a song to carry some of that weight but still overtly try to reach upwards, but I'm not going to say that it doesn't work. This World Dies plays in a lot of sandboxes too, as does End of the Light, which closes out the album.
All in all, this wasn't what I expected but that's not always a bad thing. It's certainly not the thrash album that it started out as, but it isn't the groove album it moved into either. It ends up being a marriage of two styles with others increasingly joining in as if it wants to stretch the poly concept in entirely new directions. All power to them.