07 January 2013


This is the first review of a band's submission to my blog, and it's a beastly one. Atomicdeath and Bloodstone are both extreme thrash groups hailing from the Pacific, (Malyasia and Singapore specifically) and if this is any representation of their local community, it's a happening place to be a metal band right now. This isn't the fastest, heaviest, or ugliest album I've heard, but it's a strong contender for the most metal album I've heard. From the names of the bands, to the album art, to the little "Compact THRASH Digital Audio" logo on the disc mocking the Dolby logo, this is so metal it almost hurts. I'll be the first to admit I've got a very limited of thrash metal, but this is on par with any modern thrash group out there. I'm not really that into the current American trend of party thrash, so it's great to hear some extremely urgent and aggressive music coming from the other side of the world.

The opening track, Atomicdeath's "Forever Black Hell" kicks things off with samples of sounds from the battlefield and an ominous keyboard line. Aside from being my favorite tune on the album, it's the perfect introduction for an album wholly fixated on war, death, and horror. The band instantly jump into full attack mode within the first minute and don't relent for the five tracks that comprise their part of the album.  Almost every song stands out from the track before it without being a complete departure in style. The vocals here are definitely the most unhinged and aggressive I've ever heard from a thrash band, which is a nice change of pace for me. Instead of just sounding like a bunch of rough and tumble guys who want to make some intense music, Atomicdeath tear it up as if it's the only thing keeping them alive. Honestly, this is one of the most streamlined, aggressive bands I've heard in the genre. The riffs are jagged, yet melodic and memorable. The drums are constant and cymbal-heavy, which works nicely for these tunes. If my brief online interactions with guitarist Kerry Kaufmann hadn't been so pleasant and polite, I'd be halfway convinced these are the kind of guys that you'd want to avoid in a dark alley. Give their track "Kombat Six Six Six" a listen and you'll definitely understand.

Following up a band as intense as Atomicdeath is hard to do, but Bloodstone's half of this album is equally solid while wholly distinguishing itself from the first five tracks. Whereas Atomicdeath sound like a raging battlefield, Bloodstone's music feels darker and dirtier, with something of a Celtic Frost vibe bleeding into the music. The riffs here are more familiar and possibly a more traditional take on this music, which is awesome. These guys shred as fast as anybody out there, and pull it off with absolute sincerity. The leads are blistering, the drumming is machine-gun fast, and the vocals are demonic in a way that reminds me of the aforementioned Celtic Frost or even Amebix at spots. Standout track "Based on a True Story" features lyrics just as aggressive as the riff. I'm not sure who this song is about, but this is one of the toughest songs I've heard about an individual who sounds just as tough.

Overall, this album is an excellent snapshot of a healthy and passionate thrash scene in a part of the world that many of us in the metal community tend to overlook. Even as an outsider to the genre, I'm compelled to follow future releases and progress from each of these talented artists. Check out Atomicdeath's website and   Bloodstone's facebook to keep up with these guys. If you're lucky enough to secure a copy of this split, let me know what you think of it! These folks are really friendly and I'm sure they'd love to hear your thoughts, as well.