By Dr. Abner Mality

Thrash and nothin' but is the order of the day for Chicago's Degradation. "Juggernaut" is so cut-and-dried that there is very little more to say than this is a quick, pure and painless way to get your thrash on. No surprises or tricks here, so originality points are nil, but purity of purpose means Degradation delivers the goods.

The band is wise in starting with "A Necessary Evil", a track that's fast but not really a total flesh-ripper...there's a more judicious use of speed and an emphasis on catchiness. That sets the plate well for when the band REALLY hits the gas on cuts like the title track, "Trail of Sin" and "Thrill of the Kill". The vocals from Alex Manske are classic thrash death metal growling or black metal rasping. This is really what thrash vocalists used to sound like. I also dig the more rock n' roll approach to guitar soloing instead of all-out shredding...that gives "Juggernaut" a rootsy sound. The biggest drawback these guys have is that it is all SO familiar..."Thrill of the Kill" is a rager, but is uncomfortably close to a minor variation on Metallica's "Metal Militia".

I prefer these guys to fellow Chicagoans Diamond Plate because of their no-nonsense attitude and energy, but they're gonna need to bring more of their personality into it if Degradation is to escape the second-tier.