Friday, January 6, 2017

Deathblow - Demolition Deployment (2016)

With the single from this Utah thrash act, I feel that I'm getting a good mix of Slayer style thrash along with some extra fixins in lieu of structure that even Slayer have yet to offer these days. I'm talking about muscular guitar where it matters, taking what could have been basic thrash plodding into a slightly more listenable and intriguing experience. I especially loved the band's old school Motorhead cover of “Mean Machine” which changed the whole playing style that I heard in the beginning and really worked to show their old-school grit.

When you first hear the opener and title cut, you're immediately going to want to cast these guys off as Slayer knock-offs, and that's definitely a bad move. Both instrumental sections on this song alone seem to deliver and change the whole feel of the piece in a way that I feel paints a much better picture of the kind of thrash band Deathblow want to be. Sure, they're a thrash act. That's not going to change. But like so other few thrash acts out there, these guys want to do a bit more than cookie-cutter thrash and they prove it in the way that classic bands have always done, with memorable riffs and melodies flowing throughout this composition, sometimes so quickly utilized that you'll wind up having to play the track again to understand what I'm talking about. “Implements Of Destruction” is a little more straight-forward and almost feels like a slightly more technical Slayer, but I've always found the more technical and progressive thrash acts to be my cup of tea.

You know, when I first listened to this thing, I didn't think much of it. But now that I'm sitting down with it again, I can see where there might be some real talent, and the kind that you just don't hear in thrash these days. Not even Testament's latest carried such soundscapes within the compositions as these do here. Sure, Testament might be good at writing hard-hitting thrash cuts, but they never wrote such highly spirited and truly dynamic pieces as the one's I'm hearing here. There were never any truly technical or proggy bits to their song structures and that of course is expected. Overkill never did the same either, as it's just not something that people were into at the time. It was about making music sound raw and aggressive, not artistic. I think thrash acts like this were trying to move away from the more technical and progressive epics that bands like Iron Maiden and on occasion Judas Priest, were creating. Sabbath in those days was pretty much a prog rock band without Ozzy, so you can kind of understand why thrash had to be the way that it was. But this is 2017 and thrash doesn't have to sound the same way that it has since 1980. I hope that this is just the start of progressive thrash movement, because in all honesty; I can only count a handful of bands that did anything remotely similar. And when I say that, I mean bands that have progressive elements, rather than just mixing the two together. DAM is a good example. I'd like to see these guys get to that level, and then outright surpass it.

In any case, Demolition Deployment is a short but very sweet single release that I think showcases a possible grand slam in the thrash department. These guys do what so many other thrash bands just don't these days, and that says something. I am going to say that perhaps they need to tone down just a little on the Slayer worship and sort of take it outwards towards their own unique style, but sometimes you just have to accept that it's tough to write new thrash without incorporating the roots of the genre. Like trying to raise a plant without soil.

(3 Tracks, 12:00)


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