Crossover has not received the same resurgence and regurgitation as its purer cousin despite many of the dayglo thrash revivalists sounding more like D.R.I and S.O.D than Destruction and Kreator.
Red Death from Washington D.C. bring it old skool. Sickness Divine is their third full length and it is packed with chunky riffs and big skateworthy breaks. It reminds me a little of Uncle Slam and How WIll I laugh era Suicidal Tendencies with the proliferation of groove throughout with a large toxic bucketload of Sacred Reich.
The 14 year old in me that loved this style back in the day still sniggered at the titles “The Anvil’s Ring” and “Sword without a sheath” but this is no comedy project – despite the former track being a strange instrumental that wouldn’t have sounded out of place ushering in a WWF superstar in the late 80’s.
The aforementioned “Sword without a Sheath” alongside “Face the Pain” and “Sheep May Unsafely Graze” are blistering, bullet belted, white hi-topped ragers. Sure, it is nothing new but it sounds fresh and exciting and makes me yearn for a smaller belly and my old skate shorts.
“Path of Discipline” lands with a classic NYHC swagger full of Vinnie Stigma style riffs and massive breakdowns that demand bloodied noses and pointy elbows meeting like lovers across a sweat soaked dancefloor.
“(Refuse to be ) Bound by Chains has a title that should be from a Cauldron album or some other NWOAHM band. Don’t judge this track by its title though suckers. This is a blistering gnarly fusion of hardcore and thrash that exemplifies what crossover should be – big, brash, ballsy and built to break bones!
The fact that the band have thrown in another strange instrumental by the name of Deadly Perception as a breather either shows their sense of humour or the need to give the listener respite. Soon the quartet are back to business with “Ravage” which is a big drum laden ball of anger from the get go. The guitar solos are out of the Rocky George playbook and when the demonic breakdown hits my head nearly explodes with joy. The fizzle out at the end is strange however but it segues neatly into the brooding opening of “Exhalation of Decay” which brings the album to a close.
Moody in a Testament fashion this is more groove metal than crossover but DHD’s vocals keep things street bound and punky. I certainly prefer these lads when they hit full velocity but they certainly have the big riffs to carry some heavy groove. The pace picks up during this finale before fading into a crescendo of drums and distorted guitars.
Red Death are a lot of fun. When they are going full pelt they manage to hold the line between chaos and control perfectly which is the epitome of what makes crossover thrash so much fun catering as it does to the guitar gurus and drunken (or straight edge) pit kids in equal measures.
(7.5/10 Matt Mason)