LIVE YOU TO DEATH 2: AMERICAN PUNISHMENT
There are some bands that just seem to live on and on. Like cockroaches, nothing can really kill them. Vicious Rumors is one such band. With a roster that now lists 34 current and past players in their history, there's just something that does not allow this band to die. That something is guitarist Geoff Thorpe. One of the most underrated in the thrash/power metal genre from back in the day, Thorpe has long kept Vicious Rumors not only alive, but creating killer releases that their small but loyal fanbase continues to crave. Last year's ELECTRIC PUNISHMENT was about as good a release as the band had ever done, and yet, even with that, the lineup was turned over by the time they got out on the road and began touring for it. Still, the band soldiers on and presents the most current lineup in the surprisingly crisp and biting new live release, LIVE YOU TO DEATH 2: AMERICAN PUNISHMENT.
NO HOPE, NO ESCAPE VOL. 1: WELCOME TO MY WAR
Being from the Cleveland area, I've seen a lot of bands get ignored for whatever reason. On the national side of things, most people look at bands north of Columbus as being from "Cleveland". Unfortunately though, that's not how it works. For as long as I've been in this scene, there were Akron bands and there were Cleveland bands. Even though it's only about a 30 mile drive, they have long been separated. That may not seem like a big deal, but when you factor in the difficulty to get the more quality gigs and exposure from Cleveland vs. Akron, you ended up seeing a lot of bands from Akron that just didn't get the appropriate amount of love on the national level. Looking back a decade or so when both scenes were both thriving, bands like Spawn, Funny, Funnel and NDE all failed to find record deals when they were superior to a good amount of those that did find success at that level. Hatecore Inc. is another that falls into that category.
DAWN OF THE NEW CENTURION
Steve "Zetro" Souza is clearly a godfather of all that is thrash metal. While he wasn't the original vocalist of Exodus, he was by far the most recognized. He's definitely a "love him or hate him" type of guy, both with the sound of his voice and with some of his actions in the later days that left Exodus in turmoil on more than one occasion. That said, there is no arguing his importance on Thrash Metal as a genre. His latest project Hatriot, a band that he does with his sons Nick and Cody, is one of many strong things that Zetro has done since leaving Exodus a second time. While it's not the strongest or heaviest project he's done post-Exodus (that award would go to the single released Tenet back in 2009), Hatriot looks to recapture what Souza did best for decades.
THE VIRUS CONSPIRES
For the last five to ten years, I have been championing the return of thrash metal by a series of new bands. Some have made it and built pretty solid careers (Havok, Municipal Waste), and others have come and gone (what happened to Lazarus AD). That said though, there's be no shortage of bands in the last decade that have returned to the roots of thrash to make authentic and new thrash that have been more than welcome to those of us that live in hope that Exodus and Death Angel can continue their winning ways since coming back. In short, it's been very good to have a gluttony of new bands making this kind of music. Formed in 2009, Shrapnel jumps right into the middle of this fold with THE VIRUS CONSPIRES. This release is 100% a facemelter, seemingly cut out of 1988 and intent to simply destroy everything in it's path. It's technically excellent, sonically crushing and as good a thrasher as anything that's come along in awhile.
THE FINAL REVOLUTION
In almost every subgenre of heavy metal, there's a band where you just know what you are going to get before you ever listen to a note of new music from the band. In hard rock, it's AC/DC. In modern rock/metal, it would be Disturbed. In death metal, you could point to Six Feet Under, Cannibal Corpse or just about anyone else. In hardcore, it's definitely Pro-Pain. Before ever playing a single note of THE FINAL REVOLUTION, I had the strongest idea of what was coming. Needless to say, my hunch was correct. THE FINAL REVOLUTION is exactly as advertised. It's violent. It's a clear spit into the face of authority. In short, it's Pro-Pain.