Last time the Austrian Thrash machine that is Deathstorm struck, they were a palette cleanser of sorts, breaking up my retro-rock stoner/doom workload and reminding me that summer usually brings a whole horde of thrash riffs with it. This time, Deathstorm merely continue the heavy onslaught of riffs I have been writing words about and listening to regularly. They also, by some strange coincidence happen to be releasing their latest album around the same time that Brazilian thrash trio Nervosa are releasing theirs. Expositions aside, last time out, Deathstorm were well received; their hard hitting, foot to the floor and mow everything in your path down approach to lightning fast thrash worked wonders. With Slayer now on their goodbye tours, it’s time for bands like Deathstorm to come in and reap what is left in Slayer’s wake.
And again, just like last time, there are riffs. A lot of fucking riffs!
The opening instrumental serves as filler. It has some nice melodic qualities to it and it has a very haunting effect on the atmosphere as it progresses, but face it, ‘The Reaping’ is there purely to show what the band will come on stage to. It serves little purpose in the grand scheme of things. “Agent Of Dismay” is where the business starts, and much like the previous album, ‘Lurking Beneath The Crypts’, this track picks up where it left off – a full on, fast paced thrash attack! Raw, screamed vocals, tight rhythmic execution and gratuitous use of lead guitar wankery make for a solid opening track and it doesn’t stop there.
Throughout the album, there are subtle shifts in the groove and flow. At times it’s like an avalanche, other times a stampede, and then there are the more stable sections where the flow is naturally attuned to headbanging, be it windmilling or other methods. “Ossuary Darkness” is a fine example of this. The frequent rhythmic shifts from fast to steady give it a solid flow and lean it towards the direction of songs like Slayer’s ‘Mandatory Suicide’. It’s heavy, but it packs a punch and knows when taking your foot off the gas can have the impact it needs. “Hallowed Ground” and “Predatory Kill” are more supercharged –faster, more aggressive in delivery on all fronts and they hit like a truck. The lead guitar theatrics are fairly predictable however – flailing notes, fast paced runs and whammy bar abuse are the main focal point of this release and despite their intense delivery, the novelty of the ‘Kerry King Style’ does wear off quickly.
Still, the fact that “Reaping What Is Left” naturally follows on from its predecessor shows that this way of playing has worked for Deathstorm and it will continue to work for them. People may claim it is unimaginative at times, they may cite ‘Poor Slayer Imitation’ and they may simply state that it is just unimaginative. To those people, I simply shake my head. Whilst this is more of the same from Deathstorm, it’s delivered with extreme aggression. The piercing nature of the raw vocals which are screamed at you, the way the riffs crash into you and keep running over you as you lie prone and at their mercy, the primal urge to headbang along… It is all here on “Reaping What Is Left” and it shows that taking a working formula and sticking with it will yield results.
This is a great sounding thrash release. It’s fast, it’s to the point and despite it being 33 minutes running time, it has plenty to offer.