Californians Potential Threat (the SF stands for San Francisco) have been treading the boards for a remarkable thirty three years now, and latest album Threat To Society is their third full length, following on from 2009’s A New Threat Level and Civilization Under Threat (2013). Do you see a pattern emerging?
It’s not just in the titles, either; The band have gratifyingly made little or no deviation from the thrash metal path since their inception, with album number three setting out to achieve most of the same war aims as laid down by the band on the release of album number one. Hence for the most part what you’ll be getting here is more of the same, viz well-executed but decidedly un-threatening (see what I did there?) largely mid-paced thrash straight outta the Metallica/Megadeth/Metal Church playbook. Mike Noble still bases his vocal presence on a decidedly Hetfieldian roar, and the twin leads of Noble and fellow six-stringer Daniel Sheridan form most of the notable points of each song, giving the material some added trad-metal appeal if you like that sort of thing.
Naturally the faster songs work best, with tracks like Pre-Emptive Strike hitting hard despite their reliance on the sort of aural ‘battery’ you’ll be very used to if you’re a long term thrash fan. Raise Your Fist scores highly too, and I’d have to say that in bassist Damien Sisson the band has a real, bona-fide star; he’s the best bassist I’ve heard since Jason Newstead in his Flotsam and Jetsam days, and his work throughout in support of the two guitarists is never less than stellar. He makes a more than formidable rhythm section with drummer Kenny Noble, whose adept footwork is also a pleasure to listen to.
And after that there’s not much more to add. If you’ve been listening to thrash metal since the early eighties you’ll be familiar with everything on offer here; PTSF’s one real selling point is the sheer skill they put into the record’s production. These men are true artisans, and if that’s enough for you as a listener then you’ll not hear better this year to emanate from an ‘unknown’ band. But if you’re looking for originality, this won’t be for you. You’ll be missing out on some neck-testing fun though if you choose to ignore!
Threat to Society is out now.