The new album from German thrashers Running Death is one of those encounters you just cannot help going back to and with increasing zeal. Inspirations to the band include the likes of Megadeth, Testament, and Annihilator, traits audible within DressAge but their sound has much more in its armoury ranging from eighties heavy metal and rock to similar era speed metal. It all comes in varying degrees within a certain thrash bred stomp and all colluding in one virulently infectious and catchy slab of muscular rock ‘n’ roll.
The band’s debut album of 2015, Overdrive, ensured the Bavarian are no strangers to eager praise or a host to new waves of fans and things can only escalate with the release of DressAge. The album wears a grin on its creative face from its first breath and carries a mischief which gives its tracks a real feel of aggressive fun. It opens up with Courageous Minds, a track swiftly involving the listener in its lively gait and nature as rhythms thump and dance upon the senses whilst the guitars of Daniel Baar and vocalist Simon Bihlmayer spin a web of enticement. It is not long before the track is rigorously strolling through ears, the beats of Jakob Weikmann swiping as the voice of Bihlmayer growls in a quickly engaging affair which if not quite gripping the imagination as firmly as subsequent tracks certainly gets things off to a rather pleasing start.
Dressage is next, surrounding ears with an almost predatory web of textures cored by the throaty bait of Andrej Ramich’s bass. The anthemically driving rhythms of Weikmann quickly have the instincts to stomp hooked, the song taking mere moments more to eclipse its predecessor and really get the album rocking. Baar’s melodic enterprise is technically and sonically impressive and never diluting the natural roar and flow of the thrash fuelled encounter before a gasp of time brings the matching strengths and incitement of Delusive Silence upon an appetite already beginning to get a touch greedy for what is on offer. Fusing a great mix of melodic warmth and metal irritability, the track only blossoms its weave of adventure and varied sounds keeping expectations wrong-footed and the imagination hooked.
Next up Heroes Of The Hour wraps ears in a wiry weave of melody and creative snares before revealing a more predator side through jabbing beats and antagonistic bass. They are in turn aligned to swinging grooves, a revelry soon infesting the aggressive and infectious tendencies of the song as another highlight is crafted before Duty Of Beauty bounces upon ears with a catchiness which borders on poppy. Those eighties influences spice all tracks and certainly impregnate the boisterous rock ‘n’ roll of the fifth song which also has a touch of Danish rockers Grumpynators to it.
Through the bulging contagion and biceps of the Motorhead scented Numbers and the motorbilly fuelled Beneath The Surface, fresh heights are continued and pushed, both outstanding tracks as compelling in tone and character as they are in individual craft while Anthem of Madness has neck muscles working and the body romping with its voracious instrumental theatre.
The album closes with the pair of Safety Second and Refuse To Kill, the first a fiery ballad which haunts and snarls in equal measure as guitars conjure a tapestry of evocative suggestion around just as strong vocal expression. It is a song which simmers upon the passions compared to other tracks but rapidly grows to be just as persuasive with each rerun of building body of energy and adventure. Its successor has a darker edge to its air, a song close to stalking ears as it fills them with rapacious rock ‘n’ roll cored by the most crotchety slice of thrash metal upon the album.
Cloaked in the fine work of Mexican graphic artist Joel Sánchez Rosales, DressAge is a proposition which merges something familiar with something forcibly fresh, the outcome a record which inspires only enjoyment and an eager energy to get involved. We will not say it will be a regular album of the year nomination but it will be one metal roar we will be keenly joined in love for.
DressAge is out May 26th via Punishment 18 Records and @ https://runningdeath.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 25/05/2017
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