As nerve-rattling expositions of bowel-damaging heaviness go, the opening (title) track on Aussie thrasher’s In Malice’s Wake‘s new album is hard to beat.

This is the Melbournians’ first album in half a decade and it’s clear that they haven’t spent the last five years dossing about staring at their navels. Rather, they’ve taken their tried and tested template of classic thrash given a bit of modern oomph and refined it to the nth degree. Consequently The Blindness of Faith is quintessentially In Malice’s Wake… but more so. It’s also, to my tired old ears, the best thing they’ve unleashed on us thus far in their four-album career.

We live in fast-moving times, and the music scene is no different; Five years is a long time to be away and the band could well have lost a lot of ground to their competitors in that time. Sagely, IMW don’t really have time for competition, preferring instead to simply carve out their own niche and be the best they can be in that select field. Tracks like See The Light confirm that they are right to follow this path, since it’s unlikely you’ll find anything to match the raw Slayeresque insanity of this music elsewhere this year. A frequent comparison point whilst listening to this record might be the latter day work of UK thrashers Onslaught, but In Malice’s Wake knock their efforts into a cocked hat at every turn; Shaun Farrugia and Leigh Bartley prove time and again across the record that they are one of modern-day thrash metal’s most potent riff machines, but this isn’t really an exercise in singling out personal prowess… drop the needle on any track on the album and you’ll be immediately consumed with the sense that this band is a well-oiled killing machine, a single unit that takes the skills of it’s four constituent parts and amplifies them a thousandfold.

Even on ‘slower’ material like the start of Unbound Sinful Light, the band surrender nothing in intensity; when the inevitable step up comes mid song it’s as seamless and unforced as a V8 going through the gears rather than the uncomfortable jolt many bands suffer when changing things up mid song. Anywhere you listen on TBoF, you’re met with the sound of high class. Take a listen, for instance, to the superb penultimate track Ritual Slaughter, wherein the band synthesis some of thrash metal’s great names (you might hear Metallica, Slayer and Sepultura most though) and turn them into something that is very demonstrably their own. High class indeed.

So there you have it; five years is, indeed a long time to be away but with The Blindness In Faith In Malice’s Wake blast away the years so well it’s like they never went away… great stuff.

The Blindness of Faith releases on November 13th.