Essence

Lost In Violence

Written by: AP on 17/04/2011 12:11:56

Essence was always going to be compared to Artillery, being the only Danish thrash metal band to show real promise since the release of the ironic "By Inheritance". Ironically, the debut album by Essence, "Lost in Violence", begins on a similar note - they considered that a legible solo with a taste of Eastern tunes is the most appropriate beginning to an old school thrash metal album, and this curtsy spills from the intro, "Allegiance", into opener "Unlimited Chaos" almost as a tribute to their legendary compatriots.

But although quotations run rampant on the album, it never succumbs to idle referencing. Drawing their influences from both the teutonic and bay area thrash scenes, Essence teach a master class in old school thrash, embracing all its aesthetics and technical instrumentation with frightening prowess. As such, the Artillery connection is lost come track two, "Pestilence", which paves way for the unique sound that defines the band. Essence combine the devastating pound of Destruction, early Kreator and Sodom with the nuanced aggression of Exodus, early Metallica and Testament with formidable talent and humility, but remember to draw a clear distinction between their sources of inspiration and an identity of their own. Songs like "Blood Culture", "Lost in Violence" and "Aggressive Attack" are the fast, furious and raw windmill anthems that the titles promise, but the sophistication oft lacking in the genre has not been forgotten, whether manifesting itself through a prodigious slap-tap bass solo, acoustic mid section, or an infectious call-to-arms type chorus.

Further differentiation is offered in the intermezzo, "Oblivion", which bears a certain resemblance to the intro of Mastodon's song of the same title, and the unforgettable "Shades of Black", in which the hefty assault is temporarily slowed down for a no less intense, mid tempo thrash anthem. The song sounds absolutely massive; sports a lead and solos to die for; and has the makings of a modern classic courtesy of instantly memorable riffs and vocals. Speaking of, the most challenging aspect here for those not accustomed to the stylings of thrash metal is frontman Lasse Skov's coarse vocals, a kind of amalgam of Mille Petrozza during "Cause for Conflict" era Kreator and James Hetfield during "Kill 'Em All" era Metallica, with a pinch of Slayer's Tom Araya for flavour. Once the ear grows familiar with them, however, the vocals transform from a minor distraction into one of the very defining aspects of the album, uniting novelty and nostalgia in holy matrimony.

In the context of thrash metal today, Essence have unleashed an album to shame the so-called nu-thrash movement. The level of energy and intensity present combined with retrospective production and a true old school outlook makes "Lost in Violence" one of the finest metal albums ever to have come out of Denmark, and catapults Essence into the global thrash metal scene as a serious contender. Summa summarum, "Lost in Violence" comes with all guns blazing, featuring catchy yet uncompromising tunes, ripping leads and squealing solos, and furious vocals, all distilled into a hard rocking thrash metal masterpiece.

Download: Unlimited Chaos, Blood Culture, Shades of Black, Lost in Violence, Aggressive Attack
For the fans of: Destruction, Exodus, Kreator, Metallica, Sodom, Testament
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.02.2011
Ultimhate Records

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