Avenger of Blood

Death Brigade

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True to music's cyclical nature, the late 2000s brought a revival of '80s thrash metal. This was not a movement of inspiration, but imitation. Not only did bands lift riffs from their heroes, they also adopted similar wardrobes (white high tops, tight jeans, back patches) and album artwork (over the top covers, liner note photo collages). The Heavy Artillery label headed this trend, with releases seemingly resurrected from the '80s, down to the rough production values. Avenger of Blood's second full-length is true to this form. This Las Vegas quartet echoes old-school German thrash like Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction, who, unlike their American counterparts, prized intensity over riffage. Thus, memorable songs are in short supply, but ass-kicking ones aren't. "When Will You Die" and "Beneath the Curse" frantically race to their finishes, while "Bloodseeker"'s whammy bar-abused leads sound like whinnying horses. Slayer peeks through in the serrated riffs of "Vicious Onslaught" and "Terminate." The drumming isn't quite Dave Lombardo, but it's enthusiastically and effectively simple. "Assassins" closes things out with a heroic surge of energy. Motörhead artist Joe Petagno wraps the record in appropriately retro, apocalyptic imagery. Listeners will remember nothing of this experience other than it was enjoyable.

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