Our first dose of Shredhead ferocity came in the excellent compilation album From Israhell With Love of 2012, which collected the best emerging Israeli metal bands around at the time. Many stood out but the Modiin hailing thrashers stole the march on a great many with their voracious onslaught of a track, Knife in a Gun Fight. Taken from their debut album Human Nature released the previous year, the track lit a fuse under a hungry appetite for the band’s sound, something a hindsight look at that first album only made greedier. Now the band has unleashed its successor Death is Righteous, a fury taking their already blistering and incendiary thrash sounds into a whole new sphere.
The eleven track torrent of crippling rhythms and hellacious riffs bound in contagiously toxic grooves, shows a maturity and new enterprise to the songwriting and sound which instantly opens up a fresh powder keg of potential and invention. It turns a great band into a new force in thrash metal demanding and commanding world-wide attention. From a small, raw, and acclaimed proposition which already has been the name on every Israeli metallers lips and gone onto play the Wacken festival Metal Battle in Germany after winning the Israeli Metal Battle in 2012, Shredhead has evolved into an insatiable sonic predator with grooves swinging from the hips and Bay Area thrash colouring spicing up an inventive tempest of sound.
Last year saw the band play with Biohazard and relocate to Berlin, but more importantly record the Tue Madsen (Suicide Silence, The Haunted, Aborted, Sick of It All) mixed and mastered Death is Righteous which they had been working on over the previous year or so. Unsurprisingly highly anticipated, the album goes for the jugular straight away with Devil’s Race. From its first stirring second riffs and rhythms converge on ears with forceful intent, taking a swift pause before cascading again with venom and animosity upon the senses. Vocalist Aharon Ragoza is soon joining the affray, his tones as the music, far more controlled and distinctive from the crowd now but still holding the caustic might and hoarse tone which lit up the first album. His brawling delivery roars impressively from within the cauldron of fierce beats from drummer Roee Kahana which in turn align to the web of grooves and heavily barbed riffs of guitarist Yotam Nagor. It is an imposing and compelling blaze of sound, foot to the floor metal completed by the great throaty lure of Lee Lavy’s bass and an opening tour-de-force setting the release off in scintillating style.
The following LPBZ opens similarly to the core incitement of its predecessor, beats and riffs a familiar beckoning but in no time becoming a bruising punk infused charge of sonic rabidity and riveting invention. There is toxicity to the grooves which, not only in this song, has a Pantera-esque quality but also a waspish nagging character which increases an already keen appetite for song and album. Its sizzling hostility is matched by that of The Lie which steps in next. It is a song unafraid to develop a contentment to stalk as well as simply rage at the senses whilst coating its grooves and vocals with a southern fried metal edge as it stomps with virulent endeavour. The track’s bracing presence makes way for firstly the groove metal coated predation of Last Words Are Lost and then the volatile character of the album’s title track. The first of the two without stepping from the shadow of the previous songs, lurches with nostrils flared and sinews stretched, offering a mix of Bloodsimple and Exodus in its own unique form. Its successor picks up a recognisable old school hook and lays it openly down before its expressive sonic narrative, the bait soon embroiled in a steady but dirty rage of voice and sound. It is equally prone to exploding with uncaged viciousness and intensity, planting another notable signpost in the new direction of the band’s sound.
The nightmarish bellow of Hallucinations comes next, neck muscles tormented and ears scarred by the outstanding raw bluster of the track. With a tasty solo and melodic spicing intruding on the inventive turbulence, the track equally sets a marker down for band and album which Walk With The Dead straight away emulates with its infection of spicy grooves and concussive beats. Where Shredhead now outshine their previous album and many other bands on Death Is Righteous is with the constantly revealing and giving underbelly of imagination and unpredictable ideation which boils beneath the surface warfare on the senses. Each song is a maelstrom, with some like this one a vat of tenacious invention.
On a minor note there is a similarity across some songs as shown by the ever alluring grooving of Can’t Be Left Alive and its closeness to certain aspects of other grooves and riffs on the album. As elsewhere though, it is not long before those elements find their own individualism or align to a fresh blaze of sonic ingenuity or a striking boom of vocals, this track twisting into an angry storm of fierce attitude and shapely venomous designs.
Both Witness Hell and I Hate Myself skilfully ruffle the senses; the first juggling malicious rhythms and bass grooves within an anthemic and corrosive fever of vocal savagery and acidic grooving. There is a touch of Hellyeah to the unbridled trash scourge, but only one whiff of flavouring in a track which also calls in hints of grind, groove, and punk metal to its brawl of thrash ingenuity. The second of the pair floats in on an evocative ambience. Haunting melodies gently stroke the imagination as a just as mellow bass resonance adds its emotive tinge to the enticement. A slow groan of a vocal adds drama too before closing song I Am next swaggers in with muscles flexed and grooves loaded. Thoughts of Down make an offering but again Shredhead turn any inspirations into their own creative and aggressive frenzy.
The track is an impressive conclusion to an immense and ridiculously enjoyable and inventive thrash riot. Shredhead are no strangers to impressing people but the band has invited the broadest intensive attention upon themselves with Death is Righteous, the first step in possible world domination.
Death is Righteous is available now via Mighty Music
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