Degradation – Juggernaut

It may have taken many years, a tank full of dedication and obvious hard work for Chicago thrash metalers Degradation to get to the point of releasing their debut album but for us destined to eagerly devour its thrilling aggressive sounds that faith and determination has paid off wonderfully. Juggernaut is not necessarily the beast in its title but it is one impressively consuming stirring ride of runaway metal.  A release that lights up every sense and comes armed with all the essences that make metal an undeniable addiction.

Formed in 2001 by guitarist and vocalist Alex Manske, guitarist Mike Hartman, and drummer Joe Manske, Degradation has strived and fought tirelessly to get their sounds out there in. The music worlds at times an ungrateful beast has made their journey long but for us on this evidence worthwhile. 2007 saw the band’s debut EP Unleashed released, its four tracks gaining them some good media acclaim and response. Bassist Steve Holy joined the band in 2009 with the following year seeing the band entering the studio to create Juggernaut. Consisting of eight vibrant and constant blood pumping energy, the album gets its release via the bands own means and is destined to grab them world attention for its fine thrash/metal sounds. 

Juggernaut is certainly not the most original thrash album made in that it does not have any break through or distinctly new things to bring to the ear but it is so wonderfully full on with prime thrash metal aggression that ignites the senses it is easily one of the most rewarding releases this year. It is dynamic, mischievous and a deeply appetising powerful explosion of fluid and invigorating aggressive riffs and magnetic cutting steely melodies that go deep far beyond the ear. There is no pretence from Degradation on their release; it is simply a nonstop giving of proud and honest rock ‘n’ roll.

Sound wise the band’s music has very visible influences from and touches of the likes of Testament, Exodus and of course Metallica, but they also explode with the violence of a Slayer to create their own maybe not unique but distinct sound. Opening track ‘A Necessary Evil’ slams right into the ear from its opening riffs. Forceful with high energy and eagerness it rumbles and grumbles pleasingly. The guitars are fluid and undemanding whilst the bass of Holy is a deep and satisfying tease. Vocally Manske recalls James Hetfield without truly sounding like him which is a bit of a puzzle but adds to a strong song.

From here on in things really pick up. The title track packs in incessant pummelling riffs and a cascade of tumbling rhythms to inflame the heart. The track is a pulsating intense continual stomp upon the ear spiced with great creative guitar from Manske and Hartman countered by the unforgiving drums of J. Manske. This leads into a trio of excellent tracks that really show Degradation are a fine and formidable band.

The Reckoning’ is playful yet direct and hard and shows the bands excellent individual skills off clearly and that they as a band are extremely tight and accomplished. ‘Rise To Fall’ and ‘Trail of Sin’ carry on the quality and energetic high paced attack. Never taking a step back the band thrust and thrash into the ear and beyond to feed and pleasure all the senses. The first song is a no frills but all thrills meaty shredding feast whilst the latter of the two attaches itself with a raw hardcore punk tone to sound like a mix between Testament and Biohazard.

There is simply no weakness across the album though their cover of The Crown’s ‘Executioner… Slayer of the Light’, great though it is does not have the vibrancy and undeniable fresh eagerness heard elsewhere on Juggernaut.  The album though is a nonstop trash/metal slab of deep pleasure.  Degradation may not be bringing something to leave your jaw on the floor but with Juggernaut they have gifted the year with a release that ticks all the boxes and treats the heart.

RingMaster 13/12/2011

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Truth Corroded – Worship The Bled

If Australian thrash/metalcore band Truth Corroded has not yet made a mark on your metal playlist then with the release of their new album Worship The Bled that will surely soon change. The album is a beast of intent, intensity and outright power that shows no mercy as it thrills and spills senses all across its length.

Worship The Bled is the Adelaide based band’s third full length since reforming as a five piece in 2003 and fourth since they began in 1997. Since their return albums Our Enemy Is The Weapon in 2005 and Upon The Warlords Crawl In 2008, released through Truth Inc Records, have gained the band a rapidly growing following and acclaim especially the latter of the two. A split release with fellow Adelaide band Double Dragon in 2009 only added to their stock but it is with Worship The Bled that widespread recognition is surely a certainty as its quality finds more eager ears to satisfy.

The new release features a new line-up for the band with Dååth drummer Kevin Talley (, Misery Index, Dying Fetus and Chimaira) coming in for the album, plus lead guitarist Darren McLennan joining vocalist Jason North, guitarist Mark Lennard and bassist Greg Damon Shaw. Whether this new infusion of blood is the catalyst or not there is a definite further confidence and more rounded sound to Worship The Bled since its predecessors. The music is harder, even more direct than ever before but carefully and intelligently infused with variations to intrigue and engage.  

Opening on a throaty aboriginal like chant first track ‘Knives of the Betrayed’ menacingly struts in spreading its power slowly and ominously, exploding into frenzy the track seizes hold and devastates with its crushing grasp, the band in no mood to go easy on the senses. Alongside the irrepressible riffs there is an absorbing solo from Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry, who once more brought his skills to the mixing and mastering of the album. His touch and understanding is a strong additional factor to why the album is so impressive, allowing the elements of songwriting and the musicians skills to equally blend and stay distinct.

Levels do not drop only increase as next song ‘Hunt All Heroes’ leads a torrent of unrepentant pummelling track by track. Consistent and relentless the songs are marked by their threatening energy, impressive musicianship, and well thought out and structured creation. The drumming from Talley is jaw dropping, the man immense and one doubts that anyone else could have brought the aggressive and stunningly skilful assault that punctuates each track. His power is equally matched by Mclennan and Lennard, their play scorching the flesh with insurgent riveting riffs and diverse play.

The thumping ‘Leave Nothing Alive’, along with ‘Remnants’ an atmospheric and moody predatory surge of music, and the best track on the album, ‘Dragged Beneath’ are the strongest and most emotionally intensive songs on the album, though each track on the release is an immense contribution to a fine album. The third of these particular songs is a fearsome and mournful track, the strings and emotive touch around the intense power a great variant and example of the bands evolving songwriting skills.

Worship The Bled is an impressive extreme, brutal and alternately skilful and darkly melodic release showing a band at its height of creativity. The closing seven minute flow and diversity of ‘Summon Abyss’ the perfect example of their varied and stirring sounds and though personally the shorter and harder tracks are more favourable this song is impressive and ends with the same feeling and  chant as the album started. Though the album is maybe lacking that one song that lingers and repeats in the mind without warning it is a greatly satisfying and enjoyable release and Truth Corroded on the verge of the worldwide recognition they deserve.

http://www.truthcorroded.com

RingMaster 28/10/2011

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Puritan Slain – A Matter Of Life And Death

The greatest metal band you probably never heard of!” is a line from one of Puritan Slain’s bios around the web but with the release of their new album A Matter Of Life And Death they will soon have to amend and remove the word ‘never’. Their second album is a powerhouse of riffs, metal sounds, impressive melodies, and intense emotions. It is also an evolution on their debut which in itself notably attention worthy, but A Matter Of Life And Death brings a more refined approach from the songwriting and music through to the delivery and production. This is a band comfortable with their sound and now ready to explore and expand it, which they do on this new release with quality.

   Puritan Slain has been throwing out their style of thrash metal since 2006 from the Isle of Wight, UK, not the easiest of bases for any band to grow from and meaning even more emphasis of creating a sound to take them across the surrounding water is needed. Simply finding gigs to play is hard thus gauging feedback on new material difficult, but hard work and belief has led the quintet to the release of what is destined to be in numerous top ten albums lists for 2011.

Recorded at the Agile Studios in the Isle Of Wight, and produced by the band and Jason Paine, A Matter Of Life And Death is a journey of the psyche, a harrowing journey through the darkness of the mind and emotions, leaving the listener to contemplate more than just the music they heard. From the opening of the curtain of sound from first track ‘ITL.I’ through to the closing epitaph of ‘ITL.II’ every corner of the mind and dark feelings are explored and laid out exposed.  

The consistency is very impressive across the album and rare to find in the majority of releases currently coming out. The defiant trash punk of ‘Rebellious’, ‘Obsession’ carrying a disturbing dark feel that is hard to shake off, and the pulsating and imposing riff laden ‘Determination’, are just three examples of the immense flowing intensity within the album. The rhythm section of Matthew Wade, driving each track hard with his formidable drumming, and the addictive bass lines of ‘riffmaster’ Darron Murrant  create a web of sound that allows the three guitar attack of Ben Smith, Shaun Reed, and vocalist James ‘The Bagz’ to weave their metallic magic.    Track after track working through a tortured soul the album menacingly shines. One never feels comfortable but loves every moment.

Though tagged as thrash metal the band offers much more, flavours recalling the likes of Metallica, Slayer, In Flames, Exodus and Municipal Waste are apparent but mere suggestions as the sound is solely Puritan Slain. No one else is creating tracks like the oppressive stalking beast that is ‘Fear’, or the sorrowful and deeply emotive sound of ‘Regret’; add the epic and music creativity of ‘Loss’, where as on most tracks the guitars weave some wonderful and at times unexpected sounds even occasionally skimming the edges of prog rock, as well as the harrowing and desperation fuelled ‘Death’, and the package is a complete vision and realisation of metal at its best.

For all the greatness within A Matter Of Life And Death there is one track that stands out as the destined marker for the band and what is easily the track of the year which is hard to imagine being surpassed. ‘Madness’ is perfection, the riffs come thick and fast like an aggravated giant wasp drilling away in the brain as James expels the all consuming oppressive mental maelstrom and destructive bedlam. It is simple, effective and perfection; this is what the word genius was invented for.

    A Matter Of Life And Death is an essential listen for all metal fans and Puritan Slain their new favourite band; with quality of this level it is hard to see any other outcome. For proof of that statement just take that first step and go take a listen, start with ‘Madness’ and you will be one of their rapidly growing legions within the blink of a twitching eye.
http://www.puritanslain.net
http://www.youtube.com/puritanslain
Pete RingMaster 27/06/2011

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