When rampaging in league with the hungry sounds upon Civilization Under Threat, the new album from Bay Area thrash metallers Potential Threat SF, quite simply everything is right with the world within its primal attitude and passionate aggression. It is a ten track tempest of old school thrash which is ridiculously contagious and an incendiary confrontation that ignites the purest passions with its adventurous but set in the seeds of the genre thrilling provocation. We are not witnessing new realms or depths for thrash created by the release but undoubtedly riding prime Bay Area aggravation at its best.
Formed in 1986, Potential Threat SF has ripped up stages with the likes of Testament, Slayer, CroMags, Nuclear Assault, Death Angel and many more over the years, always leaving audiences basking in the high octane sounds and deeply satisfying passion of the band. Arguably they have never earned the strongest recognition but with Civilization Under Threat they are surely set to be pounced upon by a new expanse of eager awareness and acclaim. The Old School Metal Records released album is unapologetic in its original thrash potency brought to bear through exhausting riffs and powerful enterprise from a two prong guitar attack, heavy bludgeoning rhythms, and coarsely sculpted impressive vocals. Engineered and mastered by Juan Urteaga (Machine Head, Testament, Heathen), the album is metal at its demanding yet unfussy best, a torrent of pleasure with essences of the likes of Metallica, Exodus, Vio-lence and at times Suicidal Tendencies whispering loudly within the captivating assaults.
Through the warning sirens and ‘battle’ preparations of the intro intrigue is open and soon sent into a fire of sonic tempting and rhythmic badgering. First full track Destroy and Dominate slowly unveils its muscles and intensity through melodic guitar flames and cagey rhythmic beckoning from drums and bass. It is an appealing lure but soon reaching deeper into the passions as the elements all raise their urgency and provocation into a raging torrent of thrash mastery. There is a sense you already know the track, especially in its thumping choruses and greedy riffing, but that only goes to make the anthemic temptation even more potent and successful. It is an excellent start leaving the senses punch drunk, soon backed up by the next equally scintillating trio of incitement.
The Threat of Things to Come stomps over the already emerging bruising with heavy handed drums and acidic sonic teasing before tirades of thrash rapaciousness are soon allowed freedom. Like the first it is another predatory charge with the vocals of Mike Noble outstanding over the adventurous and accomplished guitars of himself and Daniel Sheridan, whilst the torrential plundering sinews of drummer Kenny Noble continue to leave a black and blue hue to the senses and the bass of Damien Sisson chews and intimidates with primal hunger. Also as its predecessor and continuing throughout the whole album, the song is unafraid to twist and divert its stance and direction through impacting and contagious unpredictability. There may be no new ground being carved up but there is nothing predictable or expectation feeding about any element of Civilization Under Threat.
Both Stick to Your Guns and In for the Kill sneer and carve their lasting imprint on the passions, the first through a dazzling web of sonic mystique and great group backing vocals alongside Noble, which is the first loud hint at that earlier Suicidal Tendencies reference, as well as a ravenous appetite from the riffing, and its successor from offering a darker voracious snarl to its attack, vocals, and again riffs which attack with pack like intensity. They complete what is a rousing and exhilarating first half of the album and alone make the release a must have for all thrash fans.
In many ways the following Edge of Insanity and Beneath the Surface is the band at its most exploratory and imaginative on the release without lessening its insatiable and unrelenting attack. The first of the pair pounds and romps through the ear with unbridled enthusiasm and aggressive persistence then adding to the temptation with sonic blazes from the guitar midway through whilst opening the door to melodic emotive evocations which flirt with thoughts. It is a surprising and pleasing aside leaving the listener in contemplation before a return to the psyche gnawing. The second of the pair lays down a weave of invention and thoughtful diversity as well, the mesh of thrash and melodic rock sure captivation and fulfilment.
With both the mesmeric sonic lancing that is Behold the End and the ferocious Written in Blood adding their voracious intentions, and the closing Rise of the Apocalypse providing a fury clad storm of debilitating rhythmic destruction and ravenous riffing for a final call to arms for the passions, Civilization Under Threat is a dramatically satisfying triumph. It is thrash metal at its very best and invigorating and Potential Threat SF one of its very best antagonists.
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