Originally forming as Spearhead, but changing their name to Weak Aside before their debut album, this is the second album (or third, if you count their 2007 demo) from this German death metal crew. Five years after ‘Ghostleader’, ‘The Next Offensive’ sees a large upheaval in line-up, with only main man Thomas Zorn (vocals/guitars) remaining from the bands early years. But, it was the aforementioned Mr Zorn who was my main interest in reviewing this release, as I was familiar with his old band Fearer, who went long underappreciated in the German death metal scene.
In terms of death metal, it’s quite a varied hybrid of styles and sounds. Firstly, Bolt Thrower-isms are easily recognisable within their martial churn, but there’s also a Swedish tinge to their rumble with a recognisable nod to Dismember in their melodies and grimy riffage. Also, vocally I hear a faint twang of John Tardy from time to time amongst the regular death growls, with opener ‘The Next Offensive’ very much coming on as a bastardized Obituary track. ‘Alive’ opens with a very Swedish vibe, with echoing multi-tracked melodies weeping a thoroughly threatening atmosphere, building into a crescendo of trudging Bolt Thrower-inspired carnage. The opening bars of ‘Storm of Violence’ have an almost Carcass styled vibe to them, with eerie phrasing and a mid-paced pay off, chugging diesel fumes and grinding bones.
There’s an unhealthy dosage of war in Weak Aside’s sound, which only adds to the tank-like rumble of their sound, and similarly to Asphyx/Hail of Bullets, Weak Aside know how to blast the shit out of things when thoroughly necessary. Throughout there is regular carpet bombing in a musical blitzkrieg attack which threatens to shake the very foundation of your abode if played at the correct volume (yes, I’m sure my neighbours hate me). Ending with ‘Bloodstorm’, they continue their muscular assault with the same mid-paced rattle that makes up the bulk of this album, leaving you smiling and reaching for the play button to take it all in again.
I’m sure Weak Aside would be the first to agree that they can hardly admit to owning their own sound, but this is far from boring death metal genericism. There is more than enough powerful riffage on offer here to have even the most staunchly fussy death metal heads snapping their necks and grinding their teeth into dust. Here’s hoping for more of the same on the next album!
(7.5/10 Lars Christiansen)