Thrash is middle aged. It is now the thirty year anniversary of what are considered by most the genres seminal releases. The acts that sweated over them both in the US and in Germany are still on the road and dipping in and out of the studio, releasing albums sporadically to brief acclaim before everyone goes back to listening to the classics and wishing that our hair was still attached (just me?).
It is now over a decade since the “Thrash Revival” and some of those dayglo loons are seemingly a little long in the tooth. Still the thashernaut chugs on!
Finland’s “Lost Society” are relative toddlers in the hi-topped world of New Thrash. “Brain Dead “ is their third release following 2013’s “ Fast Loud Death” and “Terror Hungry” from 2014.
First time I heard this album I was playing Streets of Rage 3 on a Sega Emulator and the aggressive yet polished feel of the album worked well with busting heavily pixelated punks in the face with a baseball bat. However it is not all about retro gaming – time to wade in without joypad twitches!
From the opening track “I am the Antidote” things seem to have changed for the Finns. I had been expecting Nuclear Assault style riffing complete with John Connelly vocals. (They had a track on the last album entitled Game Over FFS). When I am greeted with a Matt Heafy style of screamo singing with Dragonforce leads my flabber is gasted. Colouring outside the Thrash lines? What will teacher say? This mid paced opener is a little polished for my taste but could well tempt BFMV fans over – which I expect is the whole point.
“Riot” follows which has a thrash/crossover feel but the band sound a little like tourists visiting CBGB’s on a coach trip rather than the real deal. There are hints of One Minute Silence in the breaks as well as Hatebreed and Agnostic Front. When Samy Elbanna is inciting a riot in the chorus I don’t believe him . I am not there in the pit with my fist held high. Probably an age thing. I’ll be at the bar.
“Mad Torture” is next. This is more what I expected. Head down balls out thrash with mosh parts and gang choruses. Great stuff but interchangeable with Havok, Gama Bomb and all the other Repka Reprobates out there. “Hollow Eyes” has a mid point Slayer feel to it. A hooky eerie riff gets things going and the drums get given a damn good pounding. The lyrics and vocals appear to be shoehorned onto this track and mean that it loses a lot of its impact but Big 4 fans will sink a beer and throw themselves around a hall to this with glee.
“Rage Me Up” is my highlight. Pure Venice beach sound without sounding like total Suicidal copyists. The bad sound tight as fuck but like they are still giving it their all. For me this track stands out amongst the others which sound a little try hard. “Hangover Activator” opens with an Exploited drum beat before we are back in thrashland. Pedal to the metal Teutonic style speed metal. Another winner. This would fit in on any Speed Kills volume ! Turn this one way the fuck up!
What’s this? An 8 minute track? Is it a ballad? Are we in the post “Black” world when everyone searched for their “Nothing Else Matters”? Only (my) Death is Certain is the relative behemoth in the collection. Luckily this is more like Testament when they had given up wanting to be MTV stars. There is also a hint of fellow Finns Children of Bodom here (sans keys) and the track offers up sections of glory with frequent changes of pace and even a power metal section allowing the guys to exude their inner Viking!
Talking of Power Metal, Lost Society have chosen to round off the album with a Pantera cover from the album of the same name- P*S*T*88. I’ll admit I have never heard the original so cannot compare it. Hey I aint much of a Pantera fan beyond the “hits” – so sue me. This is a pretty good swagger through misogyny if that is your bag. Not really in keeping with the rest of the album but they seem to be enjoying themselves.
For me this is an album of two halves with all the glory to be found in the latter part. When they hit their thrash/crossover stride Lost Society really get the pulse going and the neck snapping. The first few tracks appear disjointed in comparison and give the album a rushed feel.
(6/10 Matt Mason)