“Probably the best Danish thrash metal record since Excursion Demise by Invocator and By Inheritance from Artillery“.
So says the promo blurb that accompanies Face The Madness, the debut album from Djursland denizens Killing. And, for once in my life, I’ve got to agree with the gushing record label PR operative. Because, in simple terms, this album slays.
I’m ashamed to say these lads haven’t caused so much as a blip on my thrash radar thus far, despite already releasing an EP and a couple of singles, but I’m looking forward to rectifying that situation now by repeated immersions in this absolute ripsnorter of an album. Starting an album with a scream that can only be accurately described as ‘Arayaesque’ is a risky move – you’ve got to be pretty to good to back up an opening gambit like that – but bassist Rasmus Soelberg pulls it off and from that moment on it’s full steam ahead, all guns blazing through nine songs that will remind you again and again what it was that made you don a pair of white hitops in the first place, Because, first and foremost, this album is a celebration of thrash in all it’s glory. And what a celebration it is.
Of course you’d be forgiven for thinking that in 2021 the world of retro thrash was a bit of a busted flush; but if that’s the case, Killing have put a few thousand volts through its inert corpse with ripping thrashers like Before Violence Strikes, which might jolt Mille Petrozza into life if he ever gets to hear it, or the quite superb Don’t Get Mad, Get Evil, which sees some fabulous old school thrash drumming from Jesper Skousen kicking things off; Again Soelberg adds a Teutonic snarl to the Bay Area style riffage here, hinting at the band’s possible desire to have the best of both thrash worlds, and you’ve got to say that the resultant din is nigh on irresistible.
The album dips just a little in the middle before picking up with the excellent Straight Out Of Kattegat; however it then becomes apparent that the band have just been toying with us up til now, as they unleash the album’s three strongest tracks to close out the album. One Last Victim and 1942 (which sounds impressively like long lost thrashers Hallows Eve in places) are, in a word, perfect. Both highlight the vicious, superbly constructed guitar tones of Snade and six string partner Rasmus Holm Sørensen, with the latter track in particular piling on some spectacular soloing to augment the razor-sharp riff warfare. If the opening of 1942 doesn’t do your vertebrae some serious damage the first time you hear it, you’re not listening to it correctly.
The album closes with the slightly more progressive Killed In Action, which adds a little taste of Metallica to the mix, but don’t let that put you off. For the most part this is one hundred per cent prime thrash metal, made just like mama used to make it. If your mama was Gary Holt. Enjoy the violence!
Face The Madness releases on August 13th.