Gothenburgers Stormdeath pretty much write their own review in the names they’ve given themselves for use onstage; Evil Bastard – Guitar/Vocals, Desekrator – Lead Guitar, Incinerator – Bass and Predator – Drums aren’t names you’d readily associate with prog metal noodling or post-metal shoegazing. Rather, your mind will already be conjuring up images of crushed, discarded beer cans, bullet belts and battle jackets, the four members thrashing like maniacs to sounds summoned straight from hell. And your mind would be right. Dead right.
Stormdeath deal in souped-up NWoBHM-cum-early thrash, and though more and more bands are playing around with this sound, not many do it better, or even as well, as these guys. Predator is an inhumanly good drummer, and his superb work on tracks like We are the Devils and the title track are part of what puts this band ahead of the pack. Of course, you might say that this kind of alco-thrash requires a certain level of sloppiness for attention to detail’s sake, but personally I’d rather always hear blokes at the top of their game rather than well-meaning amateurs looking simply to feed their beer bellies with the hard earned of metalheads worldwide.
The band have been going for nearly a decade now, with a couple of EPs presaging this debut full-lengther. All the tracks on Time… are new, meaning we don’t get a revisit of their mighty anthem Drink Beer & Worship Satan. What we do get is the superb Built by Lies, where Sepulturan anger is bolted on to Motörheadian fury with frankly scintillating results, including a great bass solo from Incinerator, proving that these blokes are not just fools for a drop o’lager and a gumful of cheap speed. Pay the Price is more primitive, sounding like something that might have emerged from the Ruhr Valley in 1984, but that whiff of nostalgia just adds to the fun, as does the unhinged solo midway through from Deskrator. Accursed is just pure, ripping thrash, no more no less, whilst Black Sorrow is gratifyingly bottom-ended with yet more superlative percussive bombast from the oh-so-suitably named Predator.
Unrelenting, yes, unforgivingly heavy also, yet undeniably extremely listenable, Time to Destroy might have been released late in 2016 but it’s setting the bar very high for thrash metal in 2017. Absolutely essential stuff.
Time to Destroy is out now.