Anger As Art – Ad Mortem Festinamus


Listening to and basking in the furious unbridled thrash spawned onslaught of Hubris, Inc. back in 2013, there was a moment where thoughts wondered where Anger As Art could go from there to eclipse the might of their acclaimed release. Quite simply it seems, the Californian quartet racked every element of their sound, from aggression and creative tenacity to adrenaline and individual imagination and come up with another inevitable crowd pleaser in Ad Mortem Festinamus.

Formed in 2004 by vocalist/guitarist Steve Gaines (Abattoir, Bloodlust, Tactics, Bitch, Dreams of Damnation, Pagan War Machine), Anger Of Art is a band unafraid of showing its roots whilst savaging ears with its own individual collusion of raw thrash and insatiable speed metal. The years and releases have seen the band becomes more creatively bestial and gripping, as proven by 2013 album Hubris, Inc. and even more imposingly now within its ravenous successor Ad Mortem Festinamus. Equally, the band’s melodic and sonic enterprise, which springs as effortlessly from the band as senses crushing ferocity, has also evolved into something as insatiable and creatively virulent to captivate like a high class hooker within a war driven landscape within their new offering. In Ad Mortem Festinamus every element of the band has hit new heights to emerge a psyche twisting irreverence of vicious rock ‘n’ roll which for us Anger As Art’s finest moment yet.

It all starts with the album’s title track, a relatively brief incantation of voice and portentous ambience which soon breeds an imposing sinister lit tapestry of intrigue laced with a pent up hostility which is just waiting to erupt, something it does in Pissing On Your Grave. The second track initially lays down a bed of rhythmic and sonic traps before bursting with unrestrained animosity through ears, in turn marauding through emotions and sparking the imagination. Gaines’ vocals leads the looting of the senses amidst a torrent of crushing riffs and searing grooves offered by his and Dan Oliverio’s craft upon guitar strings. Rhythmically the swings of drummer Rob Alaniz are welcomingly intensive whilst the bass of Eric Bryan incites primal instincts, each adding to a tremendous and spirit rousing encounter more than matched by the following Aim For The Heart. Just as predacious and uncompromising, the track rhythmically picks at the already placed bruises whilst sizzling on the senses with sonic imagination and a great blend of vocal rapacity across the band.

art_RingMasterReviewAs expected, the pair of Tombward and L.A. State Of Mind show no mercy next, the first the most grievously enticing and volatile tempest so far upon the album whilst its successor is barbarous punk infused metal out to devour and annihilate anything in its way. Both tracks find a fresh gear for the album in their individual ways, the twists of imagination in the first a rival for the sheer irresistible and brutal rock ‘n’ roll of the second, though even so, the pair do get a touch over shaded by the similarly frenzied and venomous Unknowing, Undead. The great physically and emotionally caustic vocal pairing of Gaines and Bryan roar spitefully within the song’s blistering storm but just as easily wear the web of sonic invention which escapes the guitars to magnetic effect around them.

The album is nothing left than a series of highs but an inescapable pinnacle is the rousing anthem of Hammer, Blade, and Twisting Fire. It is a sure fire call to arms for spirit and energy driven by a relentless and deliciously nagging bassline. The track is like a brawling celebration on the eve of battle, with liquor like hooks and grooves extra intoxication before We Hurry Into Death becomes the vehicle for ears and imagination to dive headlong into a barrage of adversarial thrash fuelled rancor.

Anger As Art barely gives time for a breath to be swallowed let alone calm to approach body and emotions, Two Minutes Hate living up to an extended version of its title with its unsympathetic and combative animus of sound and intent. A moment to regroup is given by Praise Of The Firehead as it opens with a great melodic caress of guitar aligned to an earnest lure of clean vocals. In time though, its heart and underlying intensity bursts free in a mighty bellow with the song continuing to merge mellower reflective moments with angst soaked crescendos thereafter. Wrapped in volcanic melodic flames, the song, if without quite lighting personal tastes as forcibly as many of its predecessors, easily captivates as the band reveal further inventive exploration of ideas.

A final trespass of tumultuous energy and imaginative adventure is uncaged by Dim Carcosa; the track the link between the band’s unrestrained thrash intrusions and the more tenacious imagination of the last song, and ultimately another pinnacle of Ad Mortem Festinamus.

In many ways, fans know what they will get with Anger As Art, but with each release the band always surprises and provides a fresh encounter as they push themselves. There are many reasons why thrash metal excites so many of us and now Ad Mortem Festinamus provides yet another unopposed excuse to express that ardour.

Ad Mortem Festinamus is released March 11th via Old School Metal Records across most online stores.

Pete RingMaster 11/03/2016

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Potential Threat SF – Civilization Under Threat


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 PTalbumCOVERv2rhythmic 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.


RingMaster 19/06/2013

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Anger As Art: Hubris Inc


    Snarling and rampaging like an agitated and pissed off grizzly bear, Hubris Inc the new album from thrash metallers Anger As Art, is one carnivorous confrontation which has no qualms in turning the senses into a bruised and masticated victim subsequently crushed in hungry speed metal pleasure.  Released on Old School Metal Records, the fourth album from the Californian band is a fourteen strong furnace of shotgun powered slabs of thrash metal soaked in the original heart of the genre and driven by an intimidation and muscle drawn from the metallic viciousness of today. As expected it is a torrent of anger and often sheer spite conjured into aural flames which leave the ear wholly infatuated.

Formed in 2004 by vocalist/guitarist Steve Gaines (Abattoir, Bloodlust, Tactics, Bitch, Dreams of Damnation, Pagan War Machine), Anger Of Art has stood as a formidable encounter from their very first days, their self-titled and  Callous and Furor albums of 2006 and especially their last Disfigure in 2009, earning deserved acclaim for their merciless aggression and stirring enterprise. Hubris Inc though finds the band at their finest yet as Gaines, drummer Rob Alaniz (Abbatoir, Bitch), guitarist/vocalist Daniel Oliverio (Bitch, Abattoir), and bassist Henry De La Cruz (Maniacal Genocide), ransack the senses with accomplished invention and irresistible aggression.

The title track emerges with a coarse sonic wrap which with inciting rhythms stirs up the ear and beyond whilst a melodic flame hubriscoverscorches the air above them intriguingly. It is a fiery intro to the carnage to follow, a brief welcome which without any lasting burning makes a good avenue into the insatiable energy and malevolence of Time Devours Life. Riffs tumble and weigh forcibly upon the ear with exploitive greed whilst rhythms cascade around them with malice to form a flesh scarring encounter. As is a permanent compelling feature of the album, the bass of De La Cruz is a ravenous predator which fully ignites the passions, a gnarly beast chewing and menacing the senses with a steely merciless appetite, the following Gods of Hate the perfect example. Best song on the album, the track is a devastating onslaught of riveting riffing, annihilatory rhythms, and full blooded vocals cored by that delicious almost rabid bass sound. The song leaves the listener breathless and fully captured by its anthemic and voracious presence.

It arguable whether the album is offering much which has not already been investigated over the years within thrash and extreme metal in general, but it is hard to deny that Anger As Art have involved it into a rapacious storm all of their very own which leaves plenty of recent thrash bands and releases sounding lacklustre in comparison. Tracks such as the incendiary Speed Kills which features the excellent skills of Mark Caro from Abbatoir on lead guitar and with the other members also having featured in that band stands as the last new ‘Abbatoir song’, the tempestuous and wonderfully chaotic This is why I Hate, and The Evil you Create which has Steve Nelson from Evil Dead guesting on backing vocals, inflame and feed the passions only thrash metal can spark up perfectly, a claim the whole album can be attributed with fully.

Alongside Gods of Hate equalling pinnacles on the release come with the tremendous Pearls before the Swine, a raging torrent of crippling rhythms and sonic magnetism soaked in a brutal vehemence from riffs, bass growls and bone snapping beats from Alaniz, and the outstanding Head of the Snake. The second of the two meshes a fire of classic metal and trash into a potent and devouring sonic inferno which consumes and torches the ear and beyond with relish and infectious invention.

Also featuring amongst what are all impressive skilled assertions, the album offers up Rage and Retribution, a riot featuring the additional talents of vocalist Betsy Bitch, Jim Durkin of Dark Angel on lead guitar, and Timothy Gaines from Stryper on bass. With closer Never Forgive Never Forget, they make a forceful and highly satisfying climax to an album in Hubris Inc which is sure pleasure from start to finish. If you want true undiluted thrash metal than Anger As Art are your men.


RingMaster 06/02/2013

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