Blessed Curse. Neat name. In fact, there’s a lot of neatness surrounding American retrothrash bashers Blessed Curse. Everything they do is neatly packaged and executed, every gobbet of bile spewed expertly created for maximum mosh effect.

If that sounds a little scathing, it’s not meant to. Blessed Curse clearly love what they do most sincerely, right down to the last superbly downstroked chug. And opening track P.F.A. actually shows what Kreator could sound like if they had any hunger left, but after a while the crash and bash of wannabe ragers like Beheader just fades into the background a little, a backdrop to what you’re doing otherwise when it should really be banging your forehead into the kitchen table, repeatedly.

It’snot for want of trying, though, and the band clearly have spent a lot of time in earnest thought about what makes thrash tick. They know when the gang vocal works, they know how to insert a dissonant yet perfectly apt guitar solo, they know when to press the button and head to warp speed. So why ain’t I getting the inspirational vibes from the guys?

Sometimes it’s close – the intro to Lock Me Up is genuinely, rippingly exciting, as is Tyler Satterlee‘s ridiculous solo midway through the song – but for the most part… it’s just neat. Neatness personified.

Clearly these guys know what they are doing – they are veterans of over a decade’s standing and, even in today’s world of lowered expectation, they ain’t handing out record deals to any Tom, Dick or even Harry – and it’s agonising listening to them when their music almost raises the roof, only to settle for workaday brutality rather than mercurial, maelstromic mayhem. If they can dirty up their nest a bit next time – more filth, less precision, loosen the hinges a little… then they might just have something very special for us all to enjoy in the pipeline. Here’s hoping that’s the case!

Pray For Armageddon releases on October 13th.