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Guilty Of Ignorance

Pure Steel (2013)
Rating: 7/10

Iron Jaws are an Italian quartet who likes to indulge in old school thrash that actually works rather than irritates. Guilty Of Ignorance is the second full-length opus from this band, a follow-up to 2010’s Louder Is Not Enough.

This is the sort of frantic moshing madness I’ve been waiting for, mainly due to the fact that it has a sound that somehow combines the scornful volatility of Germany’s Kreator with the more measured chugs of Anthrax – all alongside a classic metal approach – and that’s no mean feat.

This 12-track record is a lethal concoction stirred by vocalist Andrea “Mixy” Finotti, whose dry rasps are typical of 80s German thrash. These rasps are accompanied by the lethal guitars of Roberto “Micini” Quaglia alongside the skin-thrashing bashing of drummer Riccardo “Ricky” Porzio and the brain-blender bass of Roberto “Rock ‘N’ Bob” Massasso.

Admittedly, because of its nature, Guilty Of Ignorance is a rather fleeting opus. The platter rattles by at quite a pace, but reminds me heavily of so many late 80s / early 90s cult thrash metal acts who only released one or two records before obscurity beckoned. I’m hoping that with Guilty Of Ignorance, Iron Jaws will not succumb to the same wave of anonymity.

When one slaps on ‘No Speed Limit’, there seems to be a quality here that should separate these guys from the countless other thrash revival bands who, over the last few years, have bombarded us, but without much pleasure. I do really like the mix of gang vocal chants, measured pace and also more aggressive moments, as exhibited on the hooky title track with its simmering intro, which melts into a full throttle thrash-fest of rapid fire drums and scratchy vocals.

There is certainly a traditional feel about Guilty Of Ignorance. ‘Shoot The Dead’ in particular is nothing new but rages hard, bringing to mind the thrashing prowess of one of my favourite acts, Exciter.

Despite the pacey doses this album offers though, the band can really chug too. The brilliant ‘Witch Hunters’ is a superb plodder that offers a buzzing guitar sound, and Mixy’s vocals slow to a more sinister squawk. Favourite tracks however have to be the relentless ‘H.B.M.B.’, with its dominant bass, the minimalist thrills of ‘Nuclear Disaster’, and the toxic licks of ‘Speed Metal Command’.

Sceptics will no doubt dismiss some of what Iron Jaws do as rather sparse and unimaginative. I’d agree to some extent, but there was once a whole host of no frills thrash acts swelling the scene back in the 80s, so a few more isn’t going to cause too many problems.

Guilty Of Ignorance is a rather stripped down affair that offers a bucket load of raw energy and rarely anything more, but the intensity and speed metal riffs are actually sufficient enough to allow Iron Jaws to escape from the cage of mediocrity and run wild in the streets like some type of rabid animal. Iron Jaws are literally foaming at the mouth to garner your attention.

Neil Arnold

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