We are not going to kid you by saying that it is the most unique album you will embrace this year, though bold adventure it certainly does not lack, but you will have to go a long way to find something as seriously rousing and simply enjoyable as Impervious. The new album from Australian thrashers Mason, it surges through ears with rabid energy and unbridled aggression and proceeds to raise the ante groove by searing groove and hook by virulent hook.
Bursting from the Melbourne music scene in 2007, Mason openly embraces the Bay Area thrash scene and the obvious protagonists in the genre’s general eighties borne assault and consumption of world metal. A self-titled debut EP of 2011 was followed by the band’s first album two years later, Warhead which included guest guitarist Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Nevermore) sparking far wider attention the way of the quartet. Its success was matched by that of second EP, Unmerciful last year and a live presence which over time has seen Mason share stages with the likes of Harlott, Havok, Accept, Revocation, Toxic Holocaust, Accept, Mutank, and Annihilator and play across Asia, Europe into Canada. Impervious looks and sounds like the key to the locks of the biggest spotlights and awareness, a tempest taking little time to get down to persuasive business.
The portentous lead of intro Eligos lures the listener straight into the waiting clutches of Burn. Within seconds it is careering through ears with predatory riffs and rhythms as vocalist/guitarist Jimmy Benson stirs things further with his eager snarls. Swiftly you can hear the touches of bands like Testament and Kreator in the song’s assault but only to enhance its oncoming and subsequently relentless irresistibility. Creative twists and turns come with a definite Mason identity to further entice and excite whilst the chorus amidst it all is manna for rock ‘n’ roll instincts. The track is superb, a rebel rousing, bone shaking treat setting the tone and adventure of things to come.
Tears of Tragedy is just as rapacious in energy and aggression next, the spiky tones of Benson as inspiring and tempting as his and fellow guitarist Grant Burns’ exploits. The rapier like swings of drummer Nonda T. and surly tones of Steve Montalto’s bass similarly stir spirit and appetite, their at times almost primal presence hungrily driving the sonic enterprise and assault of the song. With fiery melodies and descriptive sonic weaves webbing the encounter, it is another stirring slice of full throttle thrash to match its predecessor.
Both tracks hint at an even bolder adventurousness and individuality in the Mason writing and imagination which is more pronounced within next up song, The Afterlife. It too has top gear in full use but wraps it in a melodic and technical prowess which is almost overwhelmed at times by the song’s ferocity but a constant impressive pleasure throughout. It too has a chorus which gets under the skin within one round of its anthemic call while pushing the album’s already lofty heights on again.
The album’s title track follows; its tone almost barbarous as it sizes up its victim before consuming the senses with ravenous riffs, biting rhythms, and sonic animosity, this all bound in a virulent contagion which infests the psyche with ease. Individual flair again is as open as the animosity within the song’s irresistible presence before Cross This Path descends like a pestilential horde upon the senses. Saliva and venom drips from Benson’s tones, violence from Nonda T swings as the track carnivorously chews on ears. It is a predation superbly tempered by the sonic dexterity of Burns and Benson, though every tendril spun and melody uncaged certainly sears the senses.
Sacrificed has plenty to live up to as successor to its mighty predecessor and with its sonic webbing and thunderous air gives it a potent shot if without quite making the last few steps. Nevertheless, the track captivates as it pushes evidence of an even bolder appetite unafraid to experiment imagination within the Mason sound and potential before Hellbent on Chaos savages and entices in equal measure. It too might lack the final sparks of earlier companions, such their heights and not its shortcomings, yet has body and spirit inescapably hooked on its creative scourge.
The album concludes with the apocalyptic mayhem of Created To Kill. With words unleashed in rapid fire to match the concentrated trespass of riffs and rhythms, the song devours the senses. The bass of Montalto is a murderous ingredient in the suggestive patterns of the guitar, its predacious intent as darkly inviting as the flying beats and rabid riffs are insatiable.
It is a stunning end to one outstanding encounter which will surely put Mason on the metal map with a forceful bang. The future of thrash metal is in good, old school inspired, but increasingly bolder and imaginative hands.
Impervious is available now
Pete RingMaster 10/10/2017
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