UK thrashers from the land of six toes (Norwich) Shrapnel are a band who are on the rise. With a few EP’s out already and one full length which came out in 2014, along with some tours, supporting the likes of Overkill and playing Bloodstock, this five piece are not one to be messed with. With a decent death metal undercurrent flowing through their sound these days, combined with the standard lyrical themes thrash is known for (politics, religion, disdain for humanity etc), it looks like the guys are grabbing the big guns for their second album.

The ambient sample based opening of “Hollow Earth” quickly gives way to a classic thrash feel surge, reminiscent of UK Thrash veterans Xentrix and Onslaught, but with some Teutonic power in there which has some familiarities with the likes of Sodom and US titans Warbringer. In all, it’s a damn heavy and interesting blend of distinct thrash styling’s and not one you can easily dismiss as generic thrash metal. After the intense opening track, “Complete Resection” is simply fast thrash with plenty of attitude and bite to it, following up like it is a sucker punch in a shady 1-2 opening combo and then “The Boundaries Set” is the riff-laden haymaker which knocks you off your feet. The scathing vocal delivery cuts just as deep as the sharp riffing and the melodic lead work are superb. The whole set up of the track is rhythmically tight and it’s just a wonderful sounding, angry thrash attack!

“Jester” fills the role of being one of those tracks which has a ‘hype-up’ feel which could cement it as a live setting powerhouse. The fist-pump feel riff/drum intro shifts into a wild thrash groove which has a massive sound courtesy of the thundering bassline and tight riffing. The obligatory shred solo section of the track screams out for intense crowd action in the pit area and the gang vocal delivery in parts has that classic thrash feel to it. In all, it’s a fantastic track. Similar sentiments can be applied to the track “Carved From Above” which rears its head in the later stages of the album – a wild, fast, classic thrash sounding beast which just screams for blood, spilled pints and sweaty collisions.

Tracks like “Pariah” and “Echoes Of Emptiness” add a touch of atmospheric intensity and death metal to the mix, giving some variety and plenty of gratuitous fret-wankery and “1.0.1” changes the pace, going from slow and crushing in one section to fast and furious with little fuss or transitional bollocks hindering it… Pretty much your standard 80’s Slayer approach really. The final tracks wrap things up nicely, bringing more classic thrash and modern thrash to the table, keeping things heavy, melodic where appropriate and fast where required. Be it the epic sounding title track, the melodic and merciless “Choir Of Wolves” or the Bay Area saluting “Antichrist” which screams out Exodus styled aggression.

In all, it’s a solid thrash album with little in the way of weakness. It’s varied enough to keep your interest, heavy and hard hitting enough to satisfy, influences which are easy to pick but not dominant compared to the band’s own sound… It’s a great album, that’s all there is to say about it really!

(8/10 Fraggle)