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God From The Machine

Crime (2015)
Rating: 8/10

Impalers is a bit of a crap name for a thrash band, but each to their own in a climate where any sort of originality seems to be sadly lacking. This ensemble is from Denmark, having been active since 2007. God From The Machine is their second full-length opus, and it’s not bad at all in the scheme of things.

In 2013 the quartet released its debut album Power Behind The Throne and that wasn’t a bad effort either, but since then bassist Dan Skøtt has been replaced by Kenneth Frandsen, who is accompanied by Thomas Carnell (lead guitar), Rasmus Kjær (drums) and founding member Søren Crawack (vocals / rhythm guitar).

So what we basically get here is a high energy thrash record that does what is says on the tin, with a touch more thrown in too. While the music is a tad predictable in places – mind you, isn’t most modern thrash? – we still get a decent vocal display from Crawack who has a real venomous snarl about him, adding extra conviction to a set of punchy tracks. One can expect a heavy lean towards an old school German style of thrashing – think of Kreator, Sodom and Destruction with the speedy riffs, hectic drums and sneering expressions – but this feels more thought out and clinical than a majority of thrash acts currently doing the rounds. Hell, even the front cover is a well-crafted piece of ominous artwork, suggesting a band who do not want to be lumped in with the rest.

On God From The Machine we get treated to nine vicious thrash metal outings, and from the off it’s about conviction. ‘Future Void’ begins with a subtle guitar trickle then comes out raging hard and fast as one would expect from a thrash record, but these guys aren’t here to mess around. Instead, they offer up a serious thrash assault that has hints of deathlier nuances.

There’s nothing overtly flashy about the music. Okay, maybe the cover artwork suggests an air of complexity which comes in via the title track, but it’s still pretty much a case of battening down the hatches for a dose of Teutonic belligerence. Some nice guitar melodies are however spread throughout, which are complemented well by the strong drum nods and fiery leads.

Where Impalers truly excel though is with my favourite trio of tracks. First up is ‘Beyond Trinity’ which opens with a nice simmering guitar lead as we’ve come to expect over the years with so much thrash, but it builds its atmosphere nicely and creates a sense of the epic before a further curveball is thrown in with the clean vocal croon. It’s certainly a big surprise hinting at classic Metallica, although Crawack just doesn’t have the power to pull off that vocal style – the band better suited to the sneer – but I applaud them for trying.

Another corker is ‘Ghost’, with its buzzing opening riff and all-out thrash barrage. I’m almost at a loss to explain why I like this track? After all, it’s no frills thrash metal, but with that trouncing drum and rattling bass I‘m hooked, and endeared further by those vicious vocal snaps.

Meanwhile, one other track I just had to mention is ‘The Walls Of Eryx’; the band once again opting for subtlety as a nodding drum cavorts with a simple guitar meander in this interesting and exquisite instrumental, which makes for a nice break from the thrash attack.

Of course, elsewhere one still gets blasted by the usual thrash workouts, and ‘Prepare For War’ and the closing ‘The Vulturine’ will certainly give you your money’s worth in the aggressive stakes; the latter featuring a sublime bass lick and gang chants.

And with that we come to the end of a satisfying thrash album; one not intent on breaking boundaries but instead hard enough to break bones.

Neil Arnold

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