Mayhemic destruction. Yes, I know it’s the name of someone else’s album, I’m not that dopey, but as a two word phrase it sums up perfectly what I feel like committing whilst listening to certain tracks on this, Desecrator’s first studio full-lengther in their already nine year long career.
Most pertinent to explanation for possible subsequent actions when I come before the beak – I want all this out in the public domain before the inevitable happens – is the quite fabulous Red Steel Nation, a song that could quite easily be used as an audio dictionary description of thrash metal (of which more later). The key here is that Desecrator, for all their DIY pedigree, their convention busting use of a live album as their debut, and general Aussie larrikin outlook, are pretty traditional at heart. In that, they know which ends of their instruments go where, and how to write a tremendous song.
So, whilst when they show off just how good they actually are (usually by slowing down, causing you to twitch in your seat and shout FASTER, FASTER in an ever-more distracted fashion), it’s as a counterpoint to the default setting of madcap brutality, to just let you know that there’s method in the madness, and stone cold talent behind the steel.
Songwriting is held dear on TTG; It’s not all sturm und drang, and when the band grind it out seemingly in third gear on the superb As I Die it’s for a reason. Almost Viking in outlook – this could easily be a beefed-up Grand Magus – the superb use of dynamic and contrast really shines through here, the band knowing that by letting things idle for a while it only increases the impact when things hot up again, delivering the goods in no uncertain terms on all counts.
All that said, the incendiary Serpents Return is elemental eighties thrash in excelsis, pure excitement for an old thrasher like me and doubtless for those of a younger stripe too, rousing superb memories of names like Razor and Sacred Reich from the depths of the memory bank and causing a ridiculous grin to spread from ear to ear in the process. And when the band remind you that thrash is, indeed, a verb (back to that dictionary), you’ll be adding a little knowing laughter to the smiles too. Until you realise that the BPM on this track neatly matches the alarm on your oven, meaning the family’s tea comes close to being burnt to a crisp whilst you lurch around the lounge room.
But that’s by-the-bye… At the end of the day, Desecrator have done what they’ve long threatened, which is to go into the studio and record a classic of new-meets-old thrash metal genius – and that certainly meets with a thumbs up from us here at Sentinel Daily.
To the Gallows is out now on Dinner For Wolves.