‘With These Fists’ is the second full length album by this Norwegian quartet who formed in 1990 and reformed in 2002 after a hiatus. While their roots are most definitely in thrash, there’s plenty of down tuned groove in there and when the songs aren’t fast they are damned heavy. Anders Moen’s vocals are clean, but have rough edge to them that remind me of both Marco Aro and Robb Flynn, which is perhaps why I keep wanting to use Face Down and Machine Head as a baseline.
“Effigy” wastes no time with a frilly intro and dives straight in with choppy riffs and changing drum tempos that immediately make you want to bang your head. The song slows down a touch for the chorus to let the vocals carry a melody before kicking back into the verses.
Jan Roger Halvorsen’s footwork on “Final Genocide” is constant, even when he throws in off-time snare and cymbal beats to change things up a little before stopping complete for Mornet Steen’s bass rumble after the lead guitar break.
I’m pretty sure there’s an old song called “Mirror Man”, thankfully this sounds nothing like it, [nothing wrong with the Human League classic ed] but rather a mid-paced tempo with frantic kick drums flowing under Anders Moen and Ronny Ansen’s rapidly played guitar riffs as they entwine and work together.
The lightly picked background notes on “Mind Of Rage” give it a great eerie quality when combined with the vocal effects and juxtaposed with the no holds barred main riff.
The two guitar riffs on “Shadows Of Fear” battle it out, with each coming to the fore before being overpowered by the other. The first lead is short and sharp while the second one is more an undercurrent as the song winds its way down.
Filled with sustains and a couple false harmonics “Cross To Bear” powers through with its rather rapidly sung lyrics over the jagged riffs, whilst on “Black Mourning” the vocals are slowly sung at about half-time making them stronger and allowing Anders to hold the notes that little bit longer to great effect.
The chant like cadence of the vocals follows the drums on “Fading Thoughts” which remain unchanged as the music alternates from having almost no guitars present, to melodic, then to chugging powerfully along with the second guitar keeping the melody going
The heady bass riff on “Anatomy Of Pain” even becomes a solo that gets layers of guitar added, then vocals before driving the song and album towards its abrupt conclusion.
An album well worth listening to and a band to definitely check out if you’re into thrash with plenty of melodies and aggression.
(8/10 – Marco Gaminara)