Nah, just kidding. Yep Fastkill are so thrash they probably eat thrashed ‘n’ shredded wheat for breakfast. They are also Japanese and this is their sixth release since 2004 over a mix of splits, EPs, and full lengths which probably makes them slow workers by some parts of that scene’s standards.
As you probably guessed this is not an album big on subtlety. Nowt wrong with that of course. It’s also pretty lo-fi with biscuit tin drums and a sparse, fairly thin sound. Yet again, something that can have its charms. And it is thrash with a capital Retro, here. No mixing it up with that new fangled death metal thing or that ‘slow moody section’ nonsense; Slayer, Razor, early Metallica with the chug as fast as the riffs, that kind of mosh frenzy. Little nods here and there to a hardcore influence with the backing vocals and the tempo changes but nothing that Nuclear Assault would disapprove of. And not a beer bong in sight. They clearly know how to have fun but more on the gleefully Satanic and smashing things up side of things.
After the fairly throw away short ‘Kill Fast’, the next track is ‘In Thrash We Trust’ which showcases the bands style perfectly. These guys can stop and start on a pinhead and set nerve rattlingly fast riffs and leads down tight paths with enough changes to keep things sparkly. They also appear to have left the bassist out in the hallway for all the bottom end there is on show. Oh and the vocals…. or vokills if you like. They…are an acquired taste, I guess you could say and one that I have acquired though perhaps not in the way intended. I’ve been wracking my brains to describe this piercing yelp but I just ended up with unwanted images in my head of Jack Russells and vices, and Michael Palin in full Monty Python headscarf and pinny drag bouncing around in front of a full on thrash band. So let’s just go with yelping, yapping screeches, eh?
This is as you’d hope and expect high energy stuff and as noted they appear to be a tight bunch. The album isn’t overlong and song titles like ‘Stench Of Hell’ and ‘Merciless Onslaught’ give a pretty good indication of the thrash aggression laid out here. Yeah, here comes the ‘but’.
But. For all the finger dexterity splashed across this album, for all their devotion to the cause none of the songs stay with you after they end. They are listenable and you can, while they are on, marvel at the time changes and speed and fluidity of Fastkill, you can absorb the classic stylings of those scurrying riffs but the moment they stop I just get blank. Nothing remains; no hooks under the skin, no come down from an adrenaline rush and alas the only real memory that plays on are those vocals.
Sad to say it does nothing for me. A good, fast band who can play but left me indifferent with the songs I’m afraid. Over to you, retro fiends as you may well think differently.