BY: TJ Fowler
Label: Wyrmwood Records
Most newer metal coming out of the States these days really leave a bad taste in my mouth or ears. Much of it is very bland, over produced and boring. To really find anything of worthwhile you really have to dig pretty deep for it and it isn’t something you are going to hear on a mass scale. That isn’t to say there isn’t bands in the States that aren’t putting out quality material it is just most of it is not supported in any way by large distributers or labels like it is here in Europe.
Luckily enough for me, several years ago I was contacted by Sean Kratz from Cleveland, Ohio who asked me to give a listen to his one man band Lucian the Wolfbearer, whose debut album was absolutely fantastic. Since then Sean and I have been in contact off and on and the man is involved in several other projects. The one I will discuss here today is thrash band Black April and their album, ‘Rise and Rot’.
‘Rise and Rot’ is what I would refer to as a New Age of American Thrash album. It takes elements of bands like Sodom and Venom puts them in a pot and stirs them up then tosses that into a meat grinder along with some razor blades and turns the grinder onto the setting ‘Mangle’ and what gets spewed forth is Black April…after you put some Toxic Holocaust seasoning spice on it to give it some extra flavor.
There are two main elements at play here in ‘Rise and Rot’, the vocals which are very vicious and shredding and are VERY similar to what Joel Grind sings like in Toxic Holocaust. Vocals like these only work in the right type of band and with the right sound and this is where the second crucial element come into play, the guitar playing. Guitarist Max Zotti is a fantastic thrash metal guitarist and he also displays some softer cleaner playing in some songs which offers a strange contrast to the majority of the music found on the album. His guitar playing also compliments Kratz’s vocals perfectly and what you are left with is some great underground American thrash metal that is raw and brutal and talks about the filth of society that is held under the thumb of a fascist rule. It is dark, brutal and barbaric. It is also great.
There is one minor complaint I do have about ‘Rise and Rot’ overall and that is that the production at certain times sounds a bit too clean. Which is an odd thing for me to say as I just praised the rawness of the album, but there were a few spots here and there on the album that the guitar playing/sound seemed a bit too clean or clear for the type of material that is found overall on the album. This is a minor gripe on my part though as the album as a whole is truly a vicious and nasty ride through the slums of decay of what good American thrash can be.