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Passing Through The Fire To Molech

Pure Steel (2014)
Rating: 5.5/10

Belgrade, Serbia-based thrashers Space Eater have been attempting to put Serbian mosh metal on the music map since their 2004 inception. Named after a song written by German speedsters Gamma Ray, Space Eater consists of vocalist / guitarist Luka “Tower” Matković, drummer Marko “Tihi” Danilović, bassist Karlo Testen and another axeman, Đorđe Luković, who also plies his trade with fellow Serbian act Centurion.

Passing Through The Fire To Molech may suggest a highly complex, maybe progressive metal album, but this is very much energetic thrash with plenty of melody which arises in the vocal variations of Matković, who one minute spits a standard thrash slurp while the next offers a clearer tone.

Musically, it’s often extremely fast and showcases wild solos and wayward bass lines all thrown into the cauldron for one big moshing pie. It would seem that on this record – the band’s third – they have evolved into a tighter combo, and just listening to opening track ‘Unjagged’ is proof of this progression. It’s nimble thrash that is fleeting but reasonably heavy, and in its crazier segments reminds me of Nuclear Assault at its most frantic. As previously mentioned, the main variation comes with the vocals; on the title track – which is just as speedy as the previous number – Matković opens with a darker growl before resorting back to that thrash type.

The bass is hefty throughout, perhaps a little too hefty at times. Those of you who enjoy the rawer edges to the likes of Testament, Death Angel and Exodus will enjoy this for what it is, but it’s still rather standard contemporary thrash metal that is fast and furious from beginning to end. It’s certainly a hard task for any thrash band of today to come up with something that comes even close, let alone equals the thrash titans of the 80s, but what I do enjoy about this record is the energy.

In parts there is an Anthrax-type of chug to proceedings, and those real thrash metal devotees among you may even spot a sprig of Holy Terror amidst the maniacal melodies. By the time ‘Daisy Cutter’, ‘Ninja Assassin’, ‘Ultra-Violence’ and ‘Medea’ have all raced by on the back of that quaking bass, however, I’m crying out for a track or two to grab me by the balls and – without mercy – shake me to my foundations, but like so much of this modern thrash metal, there’s no real menace let alone quality to enable such acts to stand out from an ever-growing crowd.

Thankfully, Space Eater aren’t as goofy as goodness knows how many other bands. There are elements of this album that I will happily pass off as decent thrash, but for the most part it’s thrash metal-by-numbers that will spend its days sitting firmly in the middle of the road until a bus comes along and squashes it.

Neil Arnold

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