PERZONAL WAR "Captive Breeding"

DRONE "For Torch and Crown"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The modern thrash metal album...a micro-genre which I have yet to fully embrace. I admit it, my roots are in the oldschool days of Exodus, Sodom and more. The newer take on the genre, represented by the cleaner sounding likes of Machine Head, Dew-Scented, Soilwork and the like, is something I can't fully latch onto. But I'll be the first to tell you, thrash just can't stay mired in 1987, as great as that year was.

Two examples of the more modernized thrash are Perzonal War and Drone. Perzonal War is a name I've heard bandied about for a while now, so these guys are not exactly fresh-faced newbies. They've been pounding out their brand of aggressive groove-thrash for a while now and "Captive Breeding" definitely comes across like a polished and assured example of the genre. Yet it still falls prey to the pitfalls typical of these type of bands...fantastic mixtures of melody and aggression such as "The End" and "Termination" are paired with overly familiar nu-metal tinged stuff such as "Dead Man's Theories" and "The Last Day". For some reason, bands like this insist on sticking those commercial, melodic choruses reminiscent of stuff like Nickelback and Seether into pounding metal tunes, thus negating them. Drone does this as well. "Captive Breeding" is a frustrating listen with moments of both brilliance and banality, which I will give extra marks for having one of the best cover illustrations of the year.

Drone is a younger German band who follow much in the footsteps of Perzonal War, with the same mixture of groovy thrash and catchy melodies. And you could use virtually the same description of "For Torch And Crown"...except I find something perversely infectious about the vocal lines throughout this record. Even when they sound happy and commercial, they are irresistable. Drone can put their foot to the floor as well as Perzonal War, but I think they are better when it comes to pure catchiness. They may not grab the old gnarled thrash dog with his high top sneakers and denim vest festooned with Exumer patches, but for those into Lamb of God, Machine Head and more,  they're a band to keep an eye on.