Wearing its old school inspirations proudly on its sleeve, Singapore thrashers Thy Fallen Kingdom unleash debut album Fear The Hunter, an encounter swift to fire up ears and neck muscles. The nine track aggressor is not a proposition to change the shape of thrash metal or bring it anything particularly new but for passion and thoroughly enjoyable enterprise, it is an album to eagerly embrace repeatedly. The band lists major influences as bands such as Exodus, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Destruction, King Diamond, and Mercyful Fate, no real surprise as you listen to their raw and highly flavoursome encounter, but to be honest this familiarity only adds to the lure of their sound and makes Fear The Hunter like an old friend in the ear and a seriously irresistible stomp for the body.
Formed in 2005, Thy Fallen Kingdom has uncaged a trio of releases leading up to the new album. From the five-track All That Is Left EP in 2009, the quintet has aroused local attention and passions as well as creating interest in the metal underground generally. The following UnDemocratic Society a year later and Army Of One EP in 2012, only added to their emerging presence ensuring there was plenty of anticipation for the band’s first full-length. After numerous line-up changes, the more settled line-up of original member and rhythm guitarist Akhbar, lead guitarist Christian, bassist Bryan, drummer Aip, and vocalist Aidil (though since the album’s recording he has left the band to be replaced by Rajuna), has crafted the band’s finest moment to date, an album to ignite body and appetite with ease.
Adrenaline and energy spurts voraciously from the speakers from the first seconds of the second track, never relenting until the album’s final offering, but it is the short alluring instrumental Mental Oppression starting things off. An evocative melody drifts from the strings of a guitar, its elegant expression and caress a potent coaxing but courted by a sinister sonic squall which offers shadows and portentous suggestiveness, a threat soon realised in Army Of 1. The song lays down a rub of nagging bait before rampaging with nostrils flared and rhythms slapping ears with their mighty swings. In full stride the track is a thunderous provocateur loaded with torrents of abrasing riffs and great tangy grooves, all punctuated by heavy fisted beats. Vocalist Aidil stands in the midst of the incitement, his delivery scowling with serpentine hostility for a great caustic hue to the tempestuous yet melodically fuelled sounds around him. The song as a whole only increases its lure as the blend of every element beds in the senses as grooves drip with temptation.
My Murderous Childhood keeps the great start to the album in full swing, charging and pounding through ears with broad sinews and acidic invention. Vocal variety across the band adds to the contagion of the track but it is the virulent riffing alongside spicy grooves and hooks which turns recognisable seeds into a masterfully magnetic proposition. The track leaves appetite and ears that little hungrier, an increasing greed the title track is only too please to satisfy. From a sonic drama a delicious throaty bassline steps forward, skirted by a rhythmic shuffle of beats. It is a bait impossible to resist, even more so when a tangy solo sears its addictive web. In full flight, the song does not quite live up to its opening or predecessor but still lays down an anthemic and contagious provocation to devour, especially with the addition of a bluesy colouring and subsequently furious animosity.
The anthems keep coming thick and fast, the next up Imperious Regime a vocal roar over a contagious sonic turbulence whilst its successor Psychosis provides an inescapable addiction. The first of the pair teases with a Suicidal Tendencies like predation, especially in the vocals, to provide an exhausting and rigorously thrilling incitement, though it is swiftly left in the shade by its successor. From its opening swagger and grouchy bassline, the track is in full control of attention and emotions. A Pantera-like swing to grooves is pure infectiousness which persistently lingers even as the song spills the rawest corrosive essences for a cantankerous canter of sound and attitude. That is enough to make it a formidable encounter but with a slip into a pasture of radiant melodies and harmonies with an air of Motherjane to them, the track has its sights on best on album honours.
The salaciously grooved Operation B.E.A.S.T. has its say on that straight after though, its rugged terrain a barbarous temptation bound in infection soaked grooves and vocal persuasion. The result is another epidemic of tenacious thrash enterprise which with plenty of creative hues and craft from the guitars and potent invention throughout sculpts its own peak in proceedings. That success is matched by the outstanding Unchallenged, another relentless assault with additional punkish textures to the surge of voice and riffs. There is no getting away from the fact that Thy Fallen Kingdom enclose themselves in their open inspirations without seemingly trying to break into bold originality, but here and across the whole of Fear The Hunter, it does not prevent the album from being one of the most pleasing and fun genre releases this year.
Closing with Possessors Of Absolute Power, one more creative cage of vicious rhythms and inventively spicy grooves roared on by torrential riffery, Fear The Hunter is thrash metal at its most furiously compelling. It may be bred on a diet of classic influences which the band is unafraid to share in their sound, but it is a familiarity which Thy Fallen Kingdom uses in their own attention grabbing way for a proposal all thrash fans should take up.
The self-released Fear The Hunter is available now.
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