Biotoxic Warfare

Lobotomized

Written by: EW on 27/01/2015 09:06:50

Picking up for review the debut album "Lobotomized" from Greeks Biotoxic Warfare on a whim - and their more thrash-than-thrash appearance - it has come as a slight surprise to be presented with a spectacle that does far more cough up the standard clichés of the 80s greats, as was the case with the vast majority of thrash renaissances acts of recent times. I can excuse the clunky band name (one that smacks of there being no snappier alternative) when the eight tracks within are this sharp, brutal and shorn of the joviality and silliness which plagued so many of the acts formed of thrash-loving contemporaries from my generation whose formative metal years were weaned on a revivalist diet of Slayer and Dark Angel, et al.

It was a pity that so many took that angle to their delivery, as if accepting that evolutionary progress of the past 25 odd years had rendered thrash a no-mans-land between classic metal and the more extreme sub-variants. However I don't recall anyone downgrading the extremity of "Pleasure to Kill", "Beneath the Remains" or "Eternal Nightmare", a point BW thankfully realise as a subterranean bent to the production generates a strong aura around the well-formed songs, snarling vocals and thumping riffs. For perhaps the first time ever I even get to include the instrumental opener as a highlight - "Mors Indecepta" builds off the drum pattern shamelessly stolen from Slayer's "Criminally Insane" into three minutes of hypnotic riffing. The spoken word opening to "Proclaim the Gospel of Lies" annoyingly diminishes the energy levels but by it’s conclusion, revolving off a punishing solo section that sits on the borders of death metal, it is anything but tired. Ahead lies a radioactive wasteland of nuclear toxicity, enough to make even the most pit-addled thrasher sit up to take notice as "Baptized in Blood and Greed" signals a studious charge into the heart of the genre, combining lead work pulled from Kreator, a rhythmic punch borrowing from prime Sepultura and the vocal snarl of Razor with an authenticity and vitality that is not often heard these days.

Far from blowing their load on an incessant speed frenzy and winding up like some kind of Gama Bomb abortion, the middling pace of "Baptized…" gives way to the ominous, Slayer-esque opening to "Dysphoric Reality" which peaks with the winding guitar work of George Dimitrakakis beneath Orestis Drapaniotis’ drum battering and Mike Kavalos’ take-no-prisoners vocal style. By the latter stages of this track the band break into a section that were it not for the less mechanised drum sound could have come from an early Decapitated recording. The title track revels in the catchy vocal line patterns delivered by Kavalos’ in the chorus, heard as he effectively trades off against Dimitrakakis in one of many examples I could throw across to emphasise BW’s knack for picking out a pattern or a riff just subtly different from the norm to excite my jaded ears. Shame about the melodic twists following the choruses in that track though.

"Lust for Hate" heralds some classic "Beneath the Remains”-era Sepultura fandom and further reason to be impressed by the slightly manic skills of Dimitrakakis and his rhythm partner Stelios Sfendylakis. "Parasitic Life" is the most straight-forward and, by consequence, least engaging of the eight tracks, before closer "As We Rot (Promises Of Heaven)" sounds like the band pull out all the stops to finish in extremis - Kavalos frequently drops into a growl as the barrage of riffs cascades at a frenetic, OTT rate. It ain't pretty but it’s sure thrashes.

As a brutish, bruising homage to the harsher end of 80s thrash, "Lobotomized" is the best attempt I’ve heard in years. Biotoxic Warfare don’t have the panache of Vektor, the unassailable thrash revival kings, but with their belligerent and vitriolic approach they don’t need to. It is hard to argue the case for "Lobotomized" sounding as dark as their obvious influencers as even the band’s gritty use of modern production standards inevitably sucks out a little of the demonic terror, but for those left disappointed by the lack of mean-faced aggression in thrash metal today this is a record to savour.

8

Download: Lobotomized, Mors Indecepta, Lust for Hate
For The Fans Of: Sepultura, Razor, Dark Angel
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.01.2015
Slaney Records

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