Audiopain

Contagious

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This six-track EP was the first release by Norwegian primal thrashers Audiopain (following their name change and final and complete acceptance of heavy metal as their lord and savior), and one could argue that its callus-infested metal barrage has set the movement back 20 years. It's also f**kin' great! While most thrash metal bands tend to start with Metallica's Kill 'Em All and forge ahead, Audiopain backtrack past Raven, past Venom -- past everything, really -- to help us imagine what the genre might have sounded like if it'd been founded in the '70s. Devastatingly crude tracks like "He Who Walks Among You" and "In the Grey" cycle through more great riffs than most bands manage in entire careers, and guitarist Sverre spews forth bucket-loads of acid-drip vocals, to boot. Surprisingly, the instrumental title track is a mellow slice of bossa nova -- a remnant of the band's earlier days -- but the closing "Ego-Whip" resumes the manic thrashing to bring us home to hell in style.

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