Thraaaaaaasssssshhhhh!! Originally released I think earlier this year but now about to benefit from some sort of global reactivation next month, Aussie outfit Mason have spawned – or are about to spawn, whichever way you want to look at it – what could well be the thrash release of 2017.
In fact, a few blastbeats apart, this really is thrash in its truest essence. If you were around when thrash first broke all those years ago, you have to listen to this record. You’ll be flabbergasted how tracks like Tears of Tragedy and The Afterlife make you feel just like you did in 1984-86, so effectively has the band captured the very essence of what thrash metal should look, smell and, most importantly, sound like.
The guitar playing throughout is quite spectacular – as noted by no bigger a thrash identity as Jeff Waters of Annihilator, whom Mason recently accompanied on a Canadian tour – with both James Benson and Grant Burns acquitting themselves magnificently throughout. Every song has memorable riffs and solos aplenty, but the quite superb title track, which resembles the sound I imagine would emerge from Overkill having a collective seizure – is utterly off the scale. I honestly can’t remember being this exited by what is after all ‘just’ a thrash record in a long, long time.
We mustn’t leave the rhythm section out of course – thrash is nothing without a percussive assault and battery, after all, and bassist Steve Montalto and drummer Nonda T both pull out every stop possible to make this the album it is. Nonda’s drumming on the title track is particularly worthy of mention in dispatches.
There’s a lot of top notch ‘trad’ thrash coming out of Australia at the moment – it was Desecrator, after all, you’ll remember, who reminded us that thrash is a verb – but I’ll be very surprised if I hear anything better than this worldwide, let alone from Australia, this year. This is what thrash metal should sound like in 2017.