Category Archives: Thrash Metal

Galactic Cowboys – Space in Your Face

The US’S Galactic Cowboys have been around since 89′, disbanded in the year 2000, and a good way to describe their style would be, fitting with the title – in your f*cking face!

Though you’ve probably never heard of “Space In Your Face“, ‘chances are this one will appeal to you on multiple levels if you are a fan of any of thrash metal’s top bands(and for your sake, your are!). These Texans’ music is heavy enough, alternative, intelligent(for the most part) and has a kind of southern grungy guitar-driven attitude with a bit of an 80’s\90’s vibe that kills. Does that sound extremely general to you? Well that’s ’cause the Galactic Cowboys channel tons of stuff on “Space In Your Face“, from thrash to melodic hard rock and they also got a softer clean\bluesy side to’em.

Regarding the tracks themselves, these include solos, gang vocals, kickass riffs – the works! Sure you could say all that has been done already, but the band brings a different, refreshing energy into their songs, making those, if not the most original, still totally catchy &memorable. Things feel organic but at the same time very thought through, and work for the boys especially on “You Make Me Smile” and “If I Were A Killer“, the latter having a simple but smart lyrical concept; It’s heavy but fun music, melodic but to the point, not overstaying its welcome.

Far from being a perfect release, “Space In Your Face” does have its weaker tracks. The group, I’m unsure why, decided to take their newfound 80’s attitude too far on pieces like “Blind” and “About Mrs. Leslie” – the whole album suddenly stopping its addictive rhythm and getting into a plodding pace, everything dragging slow and safe. It’s like listening to Kill’em All with a bit of The Black Album in the middle; Now that’s plain WEIRD, if not cringe-inducing. Luckily, following this tiring business the guys get back on track with some interesting hard-hitting closing material with “Still Life Of Peace“, making the listen overall pretty worthwhile.

I wouldn’t say the band are as talented as Metallica or Slayer, but they are right behind and should have been bigger; I mean, They got a great vocalist here, great drummer, their rhythm section in general is punchy & heavy when it wants to be. I’m impressed. This release definitely stands the test of time, and is an equally fun and intelligent listen that I can recommend to both metalheads and less “heavy”-oriented rock’n’roll type music fans. Give this album a chance you guys, it rules! 7/10

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Destrage – The King is Fat’N’Old(2010)



More melodic, more “core”,  and more shred! “The King is Fat’N’Old” is overall a much more progressive album than its predecessor, 2007’s “Urban Being“. While the older album seemed to cater mainly to the Thrash\Groove Metal crowd, this 2010 release branches out genre-wise, resulting in a really diverse record!

Luckily, the band achieves this without losing their trademark heaviness; guitar player Matteo Di Gioia still got a lot of tricks up his sleeve, which he executes in a hyperactive manner, notably adding a lot of shred to the more faster tracks. Combined at times with top notch “Core” elements, the contrast between these sonic forces is brilliant and reminds me of Ex-All Shall Perish guitarist Chris Storey’s studio work on their second effort, 2008’s “Awaken The Dreamers“.

All this is not to say that “The King is Fat’N’Old” lacks oldschool killer speed or downtuned grooves. It’s all here, intensly packed together with the force & discipline of a Death Metal record, though Destrage constantly diversify their music and therefor can’t really be labeled so easily(initially I wanted to call them “modern metal” but it’s actually an insult when you think about it). Check out the video below to hear Track number 2 – “Twice the Price“:

Had enough pinch harmonics?(; On the lyrical side, these guys still confuse me quite a bit. Considering their intentional nonsensical & abstract style, trying to find meaning in their sentences is a pretty surreal mission, more exhausting than fulfilling. This makes the vocals feel a bit monotonous after a while, and I guess this is the only disadvantage to “The King is Fat’N’Old” .

Things end with the instrumentals “Way Out” and “Back Door Reprisal” which are good but can be seen as overdoing it in the creative sense. I mean, for god’s sake, the entire album is already instrumentally challenging. Well what can you do..In short, this one’s a damn heavy album with tons of guitar chops & pounding drums with double bass! Having just toured Europe with groups like TesseracT, Sybreed and Chimp Spanner, I’m obviously not the only one who thinks Destrage are a sonic success!

Favorite tracks: “Backdoor Epoque”, “Smell You Later Fishy Bitch”, “Collateral pleasure”

The band’s Facebook page

Destrage – Urban Being(2007)

Italy’s Destrage use a groove-oriented thrash metal rhythm as backbone to their music on “Urban Being“, but only in order to set the scene for a more progressive use of their instruments, achieving a brilliant result that crushes the borders of sub-genres as well as the band’s competition. They render the traditional mediocre and surpass it, musically reaching a higher ground.

First worth mentioning is guitar player Matteo Di Gioia, who’s brimming with talent and bursting with ideas on this release. His riffs & choice of chords seem to always have a twist to them – a hint of shred, a dissonant chord – these always utilized in a tasteful manner. The guy’s obviously influenced by Pantera‘s Dimebag Darrel, but he has a trademark sound & style of his own. Combine his guitar acrobatics with the rest of the band and you got one explosive effort!

“Urban Being” starts with the tracks “Trash For Sale” and “Art For Free”, and just by comparing between these two titles you can tell this album doesn’t hail modern society, and is all about mocking it. Though saying art’s for free is not automatically a negative statement eh? Food for thought, but more to the point – these two songs are just a blast, and while initially sounding solely aggressive, the band also has a knack for powerful, addictive melodies.

As you can hear, Vocalist Paolo Colavolpe’s raspyvoice is excellent for Destrage’s style – The guy also does some fine cleans and the variation is welcome. Next up we have more competent metal in the form of “Self ID Generator” and “The H Factor“, and at number 5, “Joker The Fast” shows the band seriously raising the level of intensity and speed. This track’s structure is pure chaos, making it perhaps the best one on this release.

The truth is every song on “Urban Being” has been throughly thought-out, planned and executed, the only visible flaw being the lyrics. The guys obviously had a lot to say but it seems to me like their message got a bit lost in translation. Sonically speaking it doesn’t matter, but seems like a weird choice considering these guys’ general uncompromising artistic approach. Don’t let that stop you from giving this impressive effort a listen since it is one hardcore ride! Destrage have since released newer material on 2010’s “The King Is Fat’N’Old”, and I’ll be sure to check out what they have been up to!

The band’s Facebook page

Lion Splicer – Holiday In Dystopia

Lion Splicer are a metal\punk rock NY group comprised of the “Splicer” brothers, Danny(drums) and Max(vocals\guitar). I remember getting an email from them earlier this year about the release of an EP, but must admit the musicianship on it felt too unpolished back then. However, Listening to “Holiday In Dystopia” it sounds like these two fellas have seriously upped their game!

The album starts with “Jezebel” and you can right away tell Lion Splicer’s metal isn’t so modern in style, leaning more towards the retro oldschool/punk side of the genre. This doesn’t mean the record isn’t heavy, but it often does concentrate more on being a fun, sing-along kind of listen. Audible bass? check! good vocals and the gang shouts add a lot – a cool track overall.

“Whip” is the second song on here and while its lyrics’ meaning evades me entirely, it’s still pretty awesome and right to the point clocking at no more than 3 minutes. There’s a solo section to this track with wah-wah flavored leads, giving it a lot of positive “retro” points.

The title track is pretty solid but I can’t say a lot more for its sake. The guitars aren’t doing a lot it here, which left me to concentrate on listening to Danny’s drumming and the guy does a good job. “Little Conquerers” & “Forgotten Cities” are two instrumentals, with the second being longer, actually showing significant progression in the riffs! interesting piece.

Among the different tracks, “Watchtower” is definitely my favorite. Following a King Diamond-esque frantic intro it hits you with a menacing black metal(!) riff, then slows down for a low-key chorus that’s totally horror punk in the vein of Samhain. Not a formula you commonly hear these days!

Near the end of the album we meet the third and probably the best instrumental here – “Utopia in Regalia“; a very easy-going & bluesy piece, with more wah-wah leads & good bass playin’ that periodically conjure a RHCP-meets-Hendrix vibe. A surprisingly serene piano part arrives just before the track ends in quite a progressive fashion. So glad to hear the guys experimenting a bit with the instrumentation – it works great each time they go for it.

Lion Splicer clearly wanted to make a kick-ass metal album here, and could have just come up with some cool riffs, but they did something a bit different by adding a good amount variation and creative freedom to “Holiday In Dystopia“. This easily saves the album from being mediocre, and lifts it up, making it a refreshing and enjoyable listen! To check out this release yourself simply head to the band’s Bandcamp page.

Lion Splicer’s Facebook Page

Curse of Samsara – Curse of Samsara

Curse of samsara are a new group adhering to the good ol’ code of intricate compositions and riffs, their songs lengthy and raw in sound and meaning. Their self-titled album is filled with heavy goodness and will find warm welcome with old-time metalheads. The question is – are you such one?

If you still have a oldschool bone in your body, this release just might satisfy your quest for quality metal. Classic quiet interludes, soaring solos, and a great vocalist(Anthony Montone) who’s rage is an impressive, persistent & powerful force throught the album with a vocal approach reminiscent of Death‘s Chuck Schulinder.

The first two tracks on this album aren’t bad but it is on “Signs of Evil” that the Deceased\Death vibe really explodes. Gotta love that tremolo picking, the double bass pummeling you as chords echo with melancholy:

To hear the rest of the album head to http://curseofsamsara.bandcamp.com/

The band goes further into this melancholic labyrinth with “Grave Hill/Depositum”, clean guitar shrouding the agression in more sweet darkness. Once again the riffs and general mix really throw you back in time.

To say Curse of Samsara bring innovation to the table would be a bit nonsensical but their music *is* refreshing in that it is free of the issues of modern metal(to name a few: meaningless vocal delivery, sterile guitar sound, forced compositions etc). They represent an opposing force and they do that very well. Some bands claim to own and implement a thing called “true metal”, and if that label truly has any meaning, Curse of Samsara are the real ones to posses it.

7.5/10

The band’s Facebook page