The world of British thrash metal is a venerable one, but somehow, unlike their American and German counterparts, the old Gods of British thrash never seemed to get the plaudits being handed out at the time. For every Onslaught, there was a Lawnmower Death, for every Sabbat an Acid Reign… On reflection, maybe that’s why.
In 2020, old school thrash is largely ignored by critics and some fans for whom the thought of ‘proper’ thrash has probably become a bit staid. People like more of a death/thrash hybrid these days, or so it seems, and so, Solitary, a resoundingly traditional thrash metal band that hails from the UK, would appear to have all manner of odds stacked against them before a note has been played on their new album The Truth Behind The Lies.
But if you decide to pass on Solitary because they are ‘trad thrash’ then it’s decidedly your loss. The Truth Behind The Lies is a muscular collection of riffcentric shoutfests that may well sound it was written in 1988 but is absolutely none the worse for it. The key words here are talent and conviction, and Solitary have both in spades.
Excitingly, they convey all the excitement of the first Xentrix album on tracks like the superb Abominate, somehow imbuing their Bay Area bangers with an inherent Britishness, perhaps thanks to the gloriously strident vocals of Richard Sherrington; whatever it is, this is unapologetically British thrash, and I bloody love it. I highlighted Abominate as a standout track, but in all seriousness there is nost a wasted second on this album, meaning that you can drop the needle anywhere, safe in the knowledge that your neck muscles are going to get a stiff workout wherever it lands.
Roy Miller batters the cans like a true Titan of his craft, but, in the same way as it is folly to recommend a single track as the apogee of Solitary’s work on this album, so it is to call out individual performances for specific praise. This is clearly a team effort, and that team (rounded out by by lead guitarist Andy Mellor and bassist Gaz Harrop) fire on all six throughout.
This is only Solitary’s fourth full-length in a quarter-century of toil, but it represents the band at their best and I for one hope it gets the exposure and praise this most stoic of bands assuredly deserves. Thrash til death!
The Truth Behind The Lies releases on October 23rd.