If you are looking for something not especially original but is thrash metal in its most exciting and virulently contagious form then checking out Italian metallers Ashura and their debut album Mindhood is a must. Consisting of eight tracks which simply rage with energy and skilled aggression as well as unbridled revelry, the release is a mouthwatering charge of adrenaline driven metal with a very healthy essence of punk to its thrash bred voracity. As mentioned the quartet from Vincenza is not rewriting the book and template of their genre but on the evidence of their first full-length they are undeniably giving it a fresh and invigorating surge of prime rabidity.
The seeds of the band began back in 2011 when the brothers Gastòn (vocalist) and Luciano Gordillo (bassist) decided they had enough of playing covers and wanted to write and strike out with their own original adventures. Working and searching hard for the right mix, things suddenly sparked into place with the addition of guitarist Enrico Cavion in 2013. Calling themselves Ashura, the band recorded demo EP Vengeance of Blood in the March of that same year. It was released mainly through their gigs to great responses which in turn encouraged the band to go ahead with a heftier and more serious recording. Before then the line-up was enhanced by drummer Matteo Snichelotto joining the band, successful live shows bedding him in before the studio beckoned for the recording of Mindhood. Since then Ashura has signed with Earthquake Terror Noise for the album’s release and seen the joining of Gianluca Poppi (Guitar) and Giacomo Orlando (bass) to the band.
The release opens with Reap What You Sow and from a distant perch an initial glaze of heavy metal guitar which is soon joined by a potent coaxing of anthemic rhythms and a dark throated bassline. It is instantly magnetic bait which continues to work on the imagination as the guitars close in all the time expanding their fiery flames of melodic suasion. The track is soon rampaging head down across the senses into the passions, bruising and inciting with all its strength before relaxing into a sonic web of enterprise. It is a momentary respite though as the track erupts into a predacious onslaught once again to the entry of the roaring vocals. It all combines for an excellent slice of thrash antagonism with a Bay Area breath and heavy metal guile aligned to at times a speed metal urgency and punk rock rapaciousness. There is a definite familiar tone to the tempest, many of the prime genre names coming to the fore at certain times, but also plenty of twists and wanton revelry which marks sound and album out as something attention grabbing. With only the vocals a weak spot in the latter stages of the song, the holding of notes not always Gastòn’s strongest point, it is a tremendous introduction but one right away left standing by its successors.
Both Bhopal-ToxicViolence and Vengeance of Blood take the release to a greater plateau. The first immediately offering a darker snarl and weight to its predatory emergence, bass and drums again intimidating intensive lures whilst the guitars scythe through their thick threat with surging riffs and toxic grooves. It is little time before the prowling gait of the song is a virulent blaze of furious energy and intent which easily recruits full allegiance to its addictive enticement, a success in no small way down to the raw punk growl and savagery at the heart of the track and the infestation of thrash sculpted provocation. Group calls, stomping rhythms, and the lead vocal groan all add to the compelling weave, with the outstanding carnivorous bass sound from Luciano simply irresistible. It is a masterful breath-taking ravaging which is right away matched by the second of the two, again riffs and rhythms torrential examinations of the senses and imagination whilst the sonic flare and vocal confrontation of the song roars and ensnares the passions further. The opening trio of songs alone show all the bulging potential within Ashura and the last two the direction personal satisfaction hopes they follow, their merging of the most predacious and inhospitable essences of thrash and punk a scintillating triumph in the band’s hands, especially here where the full skill and imagination of the guitars is allowed to paint the battlefield below in unique colours.
In God We… Dust! enters on a single melodic caress, a tantalising tempting of emotive beauty which is soon courted by the dark resonance of the bass. It is hard to avoid thinking of Megadeth/Metallica at this point, even as the energy whips up into a controlled frenzy, the sonic endeavour and subsequent charge of riffs wearing their influences on their sleeves. It is the pleasing turns of invention and the rapidly shifting delivery of energy and attack which stops the song becoming something predictable and unsurprising though, its creative canvas another treat to devour greedily.
The shadow drenched bass draw bringing Heritage into view next is another lip licking start but not really a clue to the almost underwhelming straight forward thrash riot to come. There is plenty to feast eagerly upon within the song to be fair, veins of melodic incitement and rabid rhythms as well as an unrelenting tide of flesh stripping riffs all meaty flavours but the track as accomplished and enjoyable as it is feels formulaic at its core and lacks the spark of its predecessors. In some ways the same can be said about V2 which comes after the 19 second title track which is just silly and unnecessary where it is. As a hidden track it would be a laugh and raise a smile but in the middle of great songs it is a moment to pass by without stopping on the way to its successor. V2 leans more on the side of heavy metal, guitars and vocals revelling in the scenery as they unveil imaginative and raucous persuasions respectively. It is another song which does not inflame thoughts and emotions as the early tracks but undeniably leaves them and an ever satisfied appetite caged by its fluid and incendiary enterprise and passion.
The album also offers bonus track Venganza De Sangre, a thoroughly enjoyable squall of thrash irreverence and fierce heavy metal hues which if not a live cut was recorded live to great effect. The song makes a stirring conclusion to a strong and highly satisfying debut from Ashura. Such its craft and energy not forgetting unbridled contagiousness, it is very easy to overlook the lack of real originality within Mindhood but not the rich promise of the band. We expect big things and releases from the band ahead.
Mindhood is available via Earthquake Terror Noise @ http://www.earthquaketerrornoise.com
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Killer thrash metal sound! Any metalhead needs to get it…Awesome riffs