“Don’t mention the war. I did it a minute ago but I think I got away with it!”. Thus spake the Cleese Spirit down Torquay way.
These days there are quite a few willing to get all “World at War” with the guitars and drums. From Endstille and Eastern Front to Hail of Bullets and new troops on the Bloc, Stahlsarg there is plenty of grim tales to be plucked from the dark days between 1939 and 1944 .
Division Speed from Leipzig have been together since 2008 releasing a few splits and promos since then. Now signed to High Roller records they blasted their self-titled album from Saxony to the rest of the world on September 25th, whether we were prepared or not.
This is classic speed/thrash metal with, as you would expect, a particularly Teutonic flavour. This is like those Speed Kills tapes that I used bootleg off of my penbanger pals around the world through Metal Forces. Pure headbanging mania with extra mosh! If this is representative of warfare then this is visceral bayonets and hand to hand trenches stuff whilst Messerschmitts duel with Spitfires overhead.
This album has 14 tracks which makes this a long battle especially as there is no let up. From the moment the needle hits (or the MP3 is clicked) it is full pelt, all guns blazing. Opener “Panzerkommando” appears to have placed NOS in the fuel tank rather than diesel. Frenzied riffing and a gang vocal chorus make for rapid fire slice of metal fury. We are soon propelled skywards to “The Iron Wings of Death.”. I feel like I am listening to the audio equivalent of Commando comic. Schnell Schnell shweinhunt. For you Tommee ze var is ofer!” Sorry . Lost it a little there. This is pure unadulterated metal fun. The vocals are a little Tardy in places which works well and gives a dash of death metal to proceedings. “Snowstorm Over Narvik” quickens the pace even more adding in some US style crossover thrash into the mix to tell this tale of a 1940 battle in Norway. I can see why Fenriz likes this band as there are some similarities between some of the latter Darkthrone releases and the riffs and beats on offer here. “Schwarze Scharen “ (Black Scissors ) is next with a Priestly air and duelling guitars to match. “Truppensturm” is the point that Kreator meet Obituary. If you have read this far you have gathered that this album is not going to spew forth a new flavour of the month to be championed, then lambasted and forgotten. What these Herren offer up is a goodly slice of metal complete with bullet holes and scorch marks.
The bizarre bass instrumental “Thunderer, Monarch, Conqueror “ does not really go anywhere in its 39 secs and does not serve as an intro to “Rule Britannia” which offers up a speed driven Maiden style assault on this green and pleasant land. Division Speed can break stuff down like a Mauser during a kit inspection and add some pit worthy mosh parts into “Black Wolves”, “Blazing Heat” and “Freezing Cold”. With 14 tracks on offer here there is certainly a lot to digest but, two short instrumental interludes aside there is no fat to be trimmed from this meaty offering.
How does one finish a romping metal album in 2015? Many bands seem to think that this is done with a meandering dirge that wobbles off into the darkness and leaves you feeling used and abused with out even a number scrawled on your hand. Not this album “Division Speed Attack” rounds off this collection with fury. I can only imagine that this is a live favourite causing the spilling of many a pint of amber and crimson fluid. Great stuff.
War is hell but the soundtrack is pretty bloody good!
(7/10 Matt Mason)