“Harvest of Souls”

By Dr. Abner Maliity

The venerable Thrust has been an institution in the Chicago metal scene since 1981…the year I graduated from high school. Their career has been wildly up and down, but “Harvest of Souls” can be found on the “up” side of the ledger. It just doesn’t sound much like their most noted album, “Fist Held High”.

“Fist Held High” was kind of an undisciplined, loose-limbed concoction of early thrash and American power metal elements that was capped off by the yelping screams of Roger Terry. It was no work of art but had its charm. The Thrust on “Harvest of Souls” is more controlled and melodic while still being heavy. It sounds a lot like that vaguely medieval kind of power metal popular in the late 80’s, typified by Helstar, Exxplorer and Liege Lord. Current vocalist Eric Claro has a voice in the same vein as Helstar’s James Rivera, which leads this album to sounding a lot like Helstar. The tunes are on the mid-paced side with bursts of controlled speed at just the right time. It sounds VERY familiar, but is executed so well that you can forgive that.  It also helps that the songs are very compact, so they don’t overstay their welcome.
“Immortal”, “Feel The Pain” and “End of Time” are some of the standout tracks. “Shadow of the Cross” tries for the sound of a Metal Church ballad and mostly succeeds…the track opens up with a fast riff at just the right moment.

The Pure Steel label is the perfect outlet for this kind of classic 80’s power metal. Some may miss the wild and rather juvenile material of their earliest days, but not me. This band has matured over time.