Formed in Melbourne, Australia and unleashing a debut that stirs up the instincts and passions like the first temptress/tempter encountered by awakening youth, Meshiaak have announced themselves as one essential proposition for all thrash metal enthusiasts. Alliance Of Thieves is one of the most formidable, exhilarating, and accomplished introductions sure to be heard this year; arguably no surprise with its line-up consisting of 4ARM’s Danny Camilleri and Teramaze’s Dean Wells alongside bassist Nick Walker and drummer Jon Dette who lists Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, and Iced Earth in his notable exploits. Together they have swooped into the heart of thrash and given it a fresh injection of imagination and creative energy; not exactly breaking its boundaries but providing the genre and more with a new compelling character to get excited over.
Recorded at the Green Day owned Jingletown Recording Studios in Oakland, California and mixed by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Pretty Maids, Destruction, Anvil, Aramanthe, Epica, U.D.O., Primal Fear), Alliance Of Thieves ignites ears with opener Chronicles of the Dead. Initial rhythmic stabs and a drizzle of sonic enterprise coaxes the senses, both soon part of a thumping persuasion which swiftly has ears and appetite eagerly awake. The vocals of Camilleri quickly grip attention too with the backing roars of Wells just as potent, while together their guitar endeavours create a web of inventive infectiousness around the equally gripping rhythmic thrust of Dette and Walker. The track is superb, whether winding teasingly around ears or driving through them like a ravenous juggernaut simply triggering spirit and instincts.
The first track also shows the melodic prowess and suggestiveness of grooves that Meshiaak are also able to conjure, the song a tapestry of intrigue and unpredictable invention which continues in the following It Burns at Both Ends and across the whole of Alliance Of Thieves. Whereas its predecessor has essences of Machine Head meets Testament to it, the second track quickly shares Slayer-esque hues once the listener has drifted through exotic climes into another tide of Dette’s addictive rhythmic craft as rabid riffs crowd around Camilleri’s imposing and rousing vocals. Calm and intensely hungry, the song is a beguiling mix of contrasts and energy, matching the inescapable persuasion and intensive quality of the opener.
The dark and sinister I Am Among You follows, its initial lure setting the emotional scene before the band toy with the imagination with a Fear Factory/Metallica like trespass of the soul. Predatory and often demonic but from start to finish commandingly seductive, the track manages to eclipse the might of those before it, setting a new plateau within the album in pleasure and imagination before Drowning, Fading, Falling floats in on orchestral melancholy. Soon the mountainous beats of Dette and another brooding bassline from Walker are courting the sonic weave of Wells, together crafting another encounter which skilfully merges raw intensity with melodic tempers. A slow burner in relation to the earlier tracks, it grows into an easy to get greedy over threat, each listen, as with the album, revealing new layers and nuances within its storm.
Through the harmonic and emotionally plaintive At the Edge of the World, a song as musically vast as its suggested landscape, and the sonically antagonistic Last Breath Taken, band and album simply taken a tighter grip on the passions; both songs in their individual way casting lava-esque melodies amidst thrash fuelled intrusive intensity, though the first of the two is a ‘gentler’ tempting and outshone a touch by its rawer successor. The pair in turn gets outdone by the brilliance of Maniacal. Again Metallica is an open flavouring yet once more a spice to something you can only out down as unique Meshiaak.
The album’s title track careers through ears straight after, every second a ravishing crescendo of sound and creative instincts leaving bliss and exhaustion in its lingering wake. There is a hint of Anthrax/Megadeth to the impossible to resist proposal, Dette alone makes the hellacious partnership between band and ears worthwhile but mightily matched by the whole of the quartet here and across Alliance of Thieves, song and album.
The album closes on the shadowy balladry of Death of an Anthem where sultry melodies and a smouldering climate surround the again impressive tones of Camilleri. Its air and emotion though becomes more volatile with every passing minute as the track bewitches and brings easily one of the year’s finest releases to a superb end. As suggested earlier, maybe we should not be surprised the quality of Alliance Of Thieves considering its creators but any hopes and expectations you might have had for the encounter will surely be blown away with swift results.
Alliance Of Thieves is out now via Mascot Records @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/meshiaak-alliance-of-thieves-cd.html and most online stores.
Pete RingMaster 24/08/2016
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