"America Idle"

By Thrash-head

I love thrash, and I always love to hear bands from back in the day that I've never heard before. To me, it's even more exhilarating than hearing new thrash bands trying to be the new torchbearers when all they're doing is rehashing the same stuff that come spewing out 25 years ago.

Original Cold Steal members Troy Norr (vocals) and Joe Shavel (guitars) are bringing it back with a new rhythm section (from the amazing Dream Theater-esque progressive metal band Ice Age) and second guitarist. I'm initially suprised to learn that these guys hail from Long Island, Nyack, as I'm hearing a lot in their sound that is in common with the Phoenix thrash scene, a la Flotsam & Jetsam, Sacred Reich, and the like. Troy can hit the high notes like Erik A.K., the band can occasionally play that awesome 1990-esque stop-start thrash riffage that was so prevalent on those early Reich records, and elsewhere the band can keep it melodic like Flotsam used to do on records like the amazing "Cuatro" and "Drift." Still, the New York sound does makes its way onto the EP on tracks like "Ashes to Ashes," which has some parts that could have come off of any of the later Belladonna-era Anthrax records. Does the band wear it's influences on its sleeves, maybe...but they do so with gusto and create pure thrash metal power the way it used to be. My favorite track on this EP is the slightly against character tune that is "Blood Secrets," which weaves in some heretofore unheard bay area influence in the intro section and the pre-section to the second chorus. It also showcases the awesome bass-playing of one Mr. Doug O'Dell, who may be the best damn bassist in thrash metal since Steve Digiorgio (apologies to Jack Gibson). EP closer "You Lose" is another mosh-fest, further showing many Phoenix-style similarities and cementing this band's style in case you missed it on the first four tracks.

This is exactly what this is...a bunch of 40-somethings showing what true thrash metal is, was, and always shall be. It's a ripping stompfest through mosh-ready riffs and rhythms that doesn't relent for even a split second. Kudos!!!