Friday, July 11, 2008

Thrash to Death

Back in the nineties Metal was out, Punk was in. Remember when all your friends loved Reel Big Fish, Offspring was on MTV, Infest played 924 Gilman, and NOFX owned the Warped Tour stage? Things have changed.

The truth is that music does not possess this kind of solitude, since genre’s bleed into one another over time, but that is a different path. It’s still safe to say that in recent years Metal has seen a return to power, but it’s only a matter of time before the revolution. Bomb the Music Industry!’s Get Warmer was my favorite Punk album last year, and over the weekend I went searching for early favorites of 08’.

Paint it Black’s New Lexicon caught my attention when I recognized a Kid Dynamite connection. East coast hardcore junkie and Kid Dynamite guitarist, Dan Yemin , is in on the act, this time with vocal duties. The Kid Dynamite sound is there, spewing hardcore that gathers its form in catchy breakdowns, opener “The Ledge” puts this on full display, but that is not all New Lexicon has to offer. On the outro to “We Will Not” Yemin’s posi-ranting “Even when the ship has run aground / Don’t let the bastards get you fuckin’ down!” leads into background keys and dissonant electronic drums. This aspect is used sparingly over all, but on a hardcore album, a little goes a long way.

Short and mean is the name. Ceremony. They're a California power violence unit that have gained attention in the North Bay scene recently. Last year saw them release an E.P., Scared People (2007) that made waves in the Punk underground. They have a full length coming out late summer/early fall on Bridge Nine records entitled The Full Length, which I anticipate will receive tons of hype in the months to come. Their sound has been compared to Crossed Out, lurching riffs that explode into freak-outs, but power violence is Punk in a straight jacket, so freedom to experiment here is really limited. It’s on songs like “Making With The Stale Air” that they manage to capture my attention by balancing the attack with a jittery thrash riff.

In the Metal glory days of the eighties, it was thrash that ruled. Metal and Punk were thrown together, and a movement began* that would solidify America in Rock’s dark arts forever. The truth is that finding good, never mind great, thrash these days is hard to come by. Extremes in contemporary metal have caused thrash to essentially turn into death metal with heavy thrash tendencies, like Year of Desolation, who put out a wicked S/T last year and nailed this style. I ran into a band that does the exact same, just twenty years earlier. Corrupt is a Swedish thrash metal band that play a combo of thrash/death, but in the Kreator/Dark Angel/Slayer vein. It’s grimy and blistering, but those infectious riffs are what kill me in the end. The chorus and guitar solo on “Profits Prevail,” off their E.P. Silence Equals Death (2006), will bring a white-knuckle smile to your face, and remind you of why you still listen to those old Thrash albums over and over. They are slated to release a LP later this year on Blood Harvest records entitled Slavestate Serenades. Corrupt is a really good thrash band that I bet will only get better. Go!

*Sure NWOBHM/First-wave black metal were important too. sure.

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