Tuesday, August 20, 2013


AFM Records

On Onslaught's last album, 2011's well-received "Sound Of Violence", the band had finally settled into their role as a thrash metal band. That was a good album all around, but what of this new one? Well, by the time this new album drops in late September it will have been over two and a half years between recordings.You know what though? The wait has been well worth it! On the aptly-titled "VI", which opens with a brief intro before kicking things into full-gear with the (Metallica getting a beat down at the hands of Slayer-like) thrasher "Chaos Is King", founding member/sole-original member guitarist Nige Rockett takes his band for a walk down thrash boulevard and never looks back! Wow, that was a bit of long-winding sentence, but it's easy enough to get caught up in the fury and force of Onslaught's sixth full-length release! And seeing as I'm listening to "VI" (yet again) while I'm typing this up a track like "Slaughterize" (packed with the lyrics "killing is my aim in life") could, would and sure as hell did knock me FAR off my train of thought! Numbers like that just make you want to stop whatever it is that you are doing and just thrash your head like a maniac! Of course that's probably not the world's best idea. Especially for someone my age! Anyway, with new drummer Michael Hourihan (who also plays in death metal band Desecration) fitting in rather nicely (his style of drumming is insane and defiantly helps to crank this LP up a notch or two!) the rest of Onslaught does a good job of making sure that cuts like "66’Fucking’6" stick with you well after the fact. That's something new I'd wager as I don't remember having the same feeling about "Sound Of Violence". While the group's last album was a lovely little thrasher, and is well-worth picking up if you're a fan of tried and true thrash metal, I do not recall there being numbers as memorable as "66’Fucking’6". Maybe I'm wrong though? Either way "VI" is a thrash album for thrash fans. At times there might be a nagging feeling like you've heard this all before, but it never ends up being that much of a distraction. It's better to just say that this UK act, which actually started off as a hardcore band back in 1982, pays homage to many a great metal band that has come and gone before them, both well-known and not so well-known (Slayer, Metallica, Sodom, Destruction, Faith or Fear, Holocross, Whiplash, Acrophet, Sacrifice, Hydra Vein, Dew-Scented, Slaughter House, Warrant, Forbidden, etc.), while drawing their own conclusions on what it is exactly that makes for a good thrash metal band. Their sound is helped out greatly on "VI" by lead vocalist Sy Keeler whose somewhat gruff, and yet kind of raspy, style gives this UK band a gritty feeling. Meanwhile the duo of Nige Rockett and Andy Rosser-Davies lay down some truly sick leads that will likely remind you of some of the greats (Slayer for one). Jeff Williams rounds out the line-up on bass and, while he's somewhat stuck behind the upfront vocals of Sy Keeler and the album's heavy focus on thrash-heavy guitar solos, he's certainly not buried in the mix like Jason Newsted was on a certain Metallica album! All told this UK act has improved upon their last album as "VI" comes packed with cool numbers like the (lyrically-heavy) "Children of the Sand" (the timely lyrics of this number deal with the fragile situation in the Middle East) sitting rather comfortably next to the (just about coming from way out of left field!) Judas Priest-styled "Dead Man Walking"! So, technically it might not be a complete album of thrash number after thrash number. But, while it's not all thrash, even a number like "Dead Man Walking" is well-worth the space it occupies here on "VI". It shows Onslaught in a slightly different light as the group takes on more of a traditional heavy metal role. Besides being a nice change or pace here on "VI" it's also a cool number that shows just how talented this bunch is. Stack "Dead Man Walking" next to a violently-heavy number like "Fuel for My Fire" and it might, at first, seem a tad odd, but take all thee cuts as a whole and you have a album that is more then worthy of sitting in any thrash metal fan's collection!

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