There has been a wealth of invigorating and thrilling thrash metal releases over the past twelve months or so and maybe to top the lot comes Corrupting Influence from Belgian thrashers Prematory. If you ask whether it offers anything dramatically new to the genre the answer would have to be, like predominantly most of the recent successes, no but whether it adds a fresh breath and potent shot in the arm for the scene, then that is a resounding yes. Eleven tracks of voracious imaginative metal with the craft and adventure to fire up senses and passions, the second album from the Leuven quintet is a snarling beast of a provocation, an antagonistic rebellion musically and lyrically which simply ignites the fullest, hungriest satisfaction.
Formed in 2007 by bassist Joeri Trescinski, guitarist Joeri Van De Schoot, and drummer Thomas Minnen, with vocalist Simon Duson coming in soon after, the band spent the first couple of years working on their material, breaking that up with the occasional gig. Second guitarist Jonas Van De Sande then joined the line-up before the band entered the studio to record debut album Suiciety in 2010, it following on from the five track demo of the previous year, We’re the Titans. The album drew impressively strong responses from fans and press, and helped the band to secure support slots for bands such as Warbringer, F.K.U., and Dr. Living Dead. Established in the Belgian underground scene, the band followed up that success began hitting stages in countries such as Germany and The Netherlands. The addition of Thomas Wuyts to replace the departing Minnen came about as the band began writing for their follow-up album, the transition a seemingly seamless affair within the creation of Corrupting Influence. Linking up with producer Sven Janssens (ex-Aborted) from the Red Left Hand studio, the album was recorded early 2013 with the mastering provided by Chris “Zeuss” Harris (Suffocation, Soulfly, Hatebreed). Now released via Punishment 18 Records, the scintillating fury is armed to the gills with all the qualities and strengths to put Prematory on the frontline of current day thrash.
Taking a look and swipe at everything from global, social, and political ills in modern society, Corrupting Influence sizes up the listener with the provocative and enticing instrumental Sledgehammer to start things off. A sultry embrace covers the ears first before guitars expand a fiery climate, one soon driven by bold rhythms and tenderising riffs. Laying this potent canvas for barely over a minute, the riveting piece is immediately succeeded by Insignificance, a delicious carnivorous bassline providing its initial path into an already awoken appetite. Striding rapacious riffs are soon stealing its limelight alongside thumping yet restrained rhythms to stretch the brewing contagion, a lure added to by the slightly grizzled and grouchy vocal tones of Duson. The song proceeds to stomp and challenge with a relish and invention which sees twisting grooves and sonic flames searing those little hairs which grace every ear. The Metallica essence which marked their earlier album is less pronounced here but still an available temptation even if it is agreeably more in the swagger of songs than sound now. Providing a varied and creative endeavour to submit full attention and hunger to, the track sculpts a breath-taking full start to the album.
The following Down the Drain is no less impressive as it keeps that adrenaline fuelled foot to the pedal and launches at the senses with a vocal and sonic predation. An almost Suicidal Tendencies like coaxing creeps into the song, especially in the vocal delivery, adding a great raw surface to the already caustically appealing encounter. Irresistibly anthemic and rigorously dynamic, the song’s ferocity is tempered by the magnetic beginning to Hold My Breath, a lone guitar veining the air with a simple and evocative temptation as singular drum punches intimidate the atmosphere. Building up to its full expulsion the track sends shards of melodic invention through the brewing fight before embracing the senses in a bear hug of accusatory vocals, combative rhythms, and condemning riffs. Less immediate than other songs, its drama and rebuking might still finds its way into the deepest appreciate and hunger, whilst the album continues with its insatiable energy.
Both the virulently infectious Toxic Experiment, the name perfect for its blistering sound and presence, and the intensely enjoyable Lies upon Lies place another layer of thrash quality upon the album, though the second of the pair for the first time on the release seems to recycle previous riffs too openly to avoid detection. It does not deter a full and eager consumption though before the outstanding assault of Grave Raiser or the simply scintillating Sentenced for Life. Starting with an intro which provides one of those toxins there is no cure for, bait which leaves the juices incontrollable, the second of the two is a predator which uses every spiteful angle and ravenous invention to raise the temperature. It is a glorious and unique slab of vivacious enterprise, Eastern promise slipping in at times to explore and accelerate the ridiculously addictive pull of the song whilst its core evolution of sounds and ideas is impossibly bewitching as it takes best song honours.
Avoiding the possibility of being an anti-climax after such a triumph the following pair of Peace?! and Bad Blood offer maybe more straight forward thrash blitzes but no less satisfying furnaces to engage in, whilst the closing title track uncages one final ravaging with compelling twists and vicious mischief to leave Corrupting Influence on a mighty high. You might not be getting something remarkably ground-breaking from Prematory on their new release but for thrash metal of the highest deviously addictive order than Corrupting Influence is a must have slab of inventive ferocity.
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