Sentenced To Death

Written by: GR on 23/03/2010 00:50:39

Do you like competitions? The kind with awesome prizes? Of course you do! Everyone enjoys the chance to get something for free and the excitement that comes with a potential win. There are certainly four young guys from Dunstable that like competitions: collectively known as Abadden, they won a Metal Hammer contest for time in the studio with Orange Goblin/Trigger The Bloodshed producer Ben Daghorn. That must have been pretty bitchin', as someone other than myself might say, so I can only imagine their glee at impressing said producer so much that he decided to sign them to his label. Thus it is that my speakers are blasting "Sentence To Death", the debut album from these UK upstarts.

From the design of their logo and the ridiculously unimaginative album name alone, you've probably already guessed that Abadden peddle old-school influenced thrash. Just in case you want confirmation: this is old-school influenced thrash from start to finish. With the genre still producing a healthy/unnecessary (delete according to your outlook) stream of albums as we press forth into a new decade, it's a good job I'm a fan of thrash metal - to a point where genericism isn't necessarily a barrier to listening enjoyment - as I'm sure there are plenty of people getting tired of the whole shebang. That said, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from Abadden and couldn't help but be vaguely weary of the 'Metal Hammer competition winners' tag. It was at the point where Dan Pool's vocals kicked in during the title track opener, after an it-could-be-anyone thrashing start that my slight apprehension disappeared. I'm not sure why, but the fact the vocal style featured on "Sentenced To Death" is of a more 'extreme' nature than most thrash bands was somehow a comfort and a nice change from the classic stylings I was half expecting. I dunno... maybe it's all the black/thrash I've been listening to recently.

This is not an album that can really be described in those terms though; the guitar work sticking mainly to the classic thrash template and the use of gang vocals making the old-school feeling even stronger. The main strength on display thoughout the album is that while they can never be said to offer anything truly original (the same applies to most thrash), Abadden have produced some songs that show a maturity and appreciation for song-writing above what might be expected of their tender years (ok, so they're probably not too much younger than myself, but their promo photos do make them look rather youthful). There is a tendency towards reliance on standard thrash-by-numbers riffing, but things are kept interesting with little touches here and there in the guitar work that might not be obviously memorable at first, but end up staying with you. In fact, as I listen to the album one more time as I type, there is some genuinely impressive guitar action, with plenty of melodic soloing, changes in pace and extended instrumental passages - not too unlike their label-mates Sworn Amongst. Admittedly it's the type of album that can seem quite samey and generic, but the band has executed its vision with enough enthusiasm and competence to justify more than a cursory listen. Overall, Abadden favour longer track lengths (only one clocking in at less than 5 minutes) which is admirable in terms of ambition but not always an upside, with some songs dragging.

Had this been released three or four years ago it would have fitted in nicely with the material emanating from the UK thrash scene - none of the songs would have be out of place on the excellent "Bangers and Thrash" compilation of that time. Of course, the fact it has been released in 2010 doesn't make it less of a record, but Abadden might have missed the metaphorical metal boat given the sheer amount of releases we've seen since then. However, with some hard touring and a bit of luck, they'll be making a decent name for themselves in the underground.


Download: Sentenced To Death, Resurrection, Violent Assault
For the fans of: Damnas, Heretic, Kreator, Mutant
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.03.2010
Rising Records

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