Monday, 9 September 2019

Piranha - First Kill (2019)


Country: Switzerland
Style: Thrash Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 6 Sep 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Metal Archives | Official Website | YouTube

Piranha is such a thrash name. Even if Exodus hadn't recorded a song of the same name, most of the bands called Piranha would still be recording thrash metal because of course they would. This Piranha hail from Switzerland and, sure enough, they're a thrash band though they have a secondary NWOBHM sound in there too. Just listen to a song like Turning Point, which blisters along in the time honoured Teutonic thrash style until suddenly it turns into Iron Maiden for a while.

For a while it sounds like Destruction with maybe some Sodom in there too. The opener, Chain Reaction, is packed full of their buzzsaw guitar tone and appropriately wild vocals and it doesn't let up for a moment. Turning Point continues with that thrash metal onslaught until the Maiden section midway through that's slower and cleaner. Then it speeds up again and we're right back where we were, the guitars of Oz and Skullshredder blistering along at a rate of knots like this is the mid eighties and Piranha want to test the limits of speed.

But then they slow down a little. A number of songs here, like For Your Own Security and Flight or Fight, are played at a mid-pace with less blistering and more chugging. Some of them ought to do well at getting a pit going. If their thinking is mostly still thrash, some move into a power metal mindset, like Rage of Fire with phrasing like Accept and guitarwork like Iron Maiden. Target Failed revels in that Accept power metal sound and Squaller's vocals start to sound a little less Schmier and a little more Udo.

Perhaps my favourite song here is Resistance to Change, a really old school speed metal song right out of 1985. This wouldn't have been out of place on the Speed Kills compilations that Music for Nations put out back in the day, full of Whiplash and Exciter and Hallows Eve and the rest. That's where my ears first encountered my very favourite Exodus song, A Lesson in Violence, which this song initially resembles. It goes to other places too, with even a hint of doom at one point, albeit not for long.

The other song I kept going back to was No More Voices. It's the longest of the ten tracks on offer and it's the most varied. It starts and ends at the mid-pace in that combination of speed chugging and riff-driven power metal, but it has a glorious midsection. Around the four minute mark, the chugging finds a neat groove and a whole army of whispers leaps in as if to wrap it up in gossip. It's original and impressive and the solo that emerges sounds all the better for it.

Every new thrash band that I discover is a good one in my book, because I'm so happy that the genre hasn't died out the way we thought it might in the nineties. Piranha are pretty decent and I hope they bode well for the other albums I'm seeing coming out of Switzerland of late.

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