"Demonic Alliance"

By Thrash-head

Thrash metal is a subgenre that some may argue was perfected in 1986. “Reign in Blood,” “Master of Puppets,” “Peace Sells...,” and “Pleasure to Kill” all ripped apart any notions of what metal was truly capable of. Then the late 80s and early 90s happened. The scene became over-saturated with bands who eschewed innovation for imitation naively perceived as excellence. Read between the lines, bands (and the labels that signed them) thought they were amazing for being third rate Exodus clones.

Fast forward 20 years. Bands have come and gone, and while we've had a few momentary thrash heroes that either broke up, watered down, or seem hellbent on rehashing tried-yet-true formulas, true innovators in this genre have been few in numbers and usually less-than-stellar to boot. We need a new hero...a band that know where it came from, and wants to blow it out of the water!

Enter Harm, the Norwegian 4-piece newly signed with Battlegod Productions, a label mostly known for it's black metal output. Harm play thrash metal like Rutger Hauer movies end...violently! The riffage spewing forth at times echoes the euro-thrash that has come before, nothing unlike the Kreator school, only to veer left into total Zyklon/Myrkskog-esque death metal brutality, and then veer right back on course into Destruction worship. There's nothing mellow about this release. There are times when you go “hey, that sounds like a Testament riff, or the intro to 'Hell Awaits',” or even “damn, wish I'd thought to write a song like that,”, but it's never anything that sounds dated or redone. It's original, it's purposeful, and above all, it's straight-forward, go-for-the-throat thrash metal. Add to it some downright harsh vocals from the gravel-throated bassist, Steffan Schultz, and some downright brilliant drumming courtesy of Øivind Vågane, and this album just slays, start to finish.

This is what thrash metal was always meant to evolve to!