Greek thrashers Exarsis are now five albums into their career, and on new record Sentenced To Life I’m gratified to report that they are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Like many newer thrash bands Exarsis get the minutiae of the genre down pat first (the ironic/comedic title, the Repkaesque cover, you know the score by now), but where many of those bands get bogged down in a mire of prosaic musical tropes and unrealistic expectation caused the the album title and the artwork, this bunch of hellbound Hellenics hit the ball out of the park time and again on Sentenced to Life. The main key to this state of affairs – apart from the fact that they are seriously good songwriters – is the spectacular voice of Nick J. He comes off like a helium-driven Eric Adams on the breakneck Aiming The Eye, but for most of the time he settles for an incendiary style that borrows much from Agent Steel madman John Cyriis and a little from Cirith Ungol‘s Tim Baker to provide a truly superb listening experience.
He’s at his best on the utterly jaw dropping Mouthtied, backed by some classic thrash gang vocals and ridiculously exciting guitar work from Christos T and Kostis F, but really he doesn’t put a foot wrong on any of the eight tracks on the album that feature vocals. In fact, the whole band (rounded out by drummer Panos M and bassist Chris P) perform to peak standards throughout; This is rapier-sharp thrash of the highest order, make no mistake.
If there’s one grip it might be that the material is a little one-paced – even if that pace is lightspeed; Even the greatest thrash albums have benefitted from a little a little change in pace and intensity every now and then, but that’s small beer really when as a listener you’re being presented with material of the consistently high order of tracks like One Last Word. Better just to break out your old Metal Church neck brace and go with the metal thrashing madness, surely?
Sentenced To Life is out now.