Gama Bomb

Tales from the Grave in Space

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As well as confirming their knowledge of music history with the authentic ‘80s-flavored thrash metal contained in their first efforts, Northern Ireland's Gama Bomb actually made history with 2010's Tales from the Grave in Space by arguably becoming the first heavy metal band to ever release a new album for free while also being signed to a record label -- the obviously very accommodating Earache. Of course this is pretty much the group's only display of progressive thinking, as their sound remains rooted 100-percent in those three-decades-old thrash templates, and even the sci-fi subjects tackled throughout this set (e.g. "New Eliminators of Atlantis B.C.," "Apocalypse 1997," etc.) draw inspiration from the romantic visions of the future depicted in ‘50s pulp comics. Oh yeah, and zombie astronauts and other assorted ghouls ("Polterghost," "Mummy Invasion," etc.). In point of fact, this CD's entire booklet is cleverly comp-ed up to resemble an issue of Weird Tales, with virtually every song lyric rendered in comic book form, as though to distract from the otherwise workmanlike retro-thrash dominating the proceedings. But that doesn't mean that Gama Bomb don't carry off those blueprints quite well, thanks to improved musicianship by all involved and the frequent, fearless, and amusing falsetto leaps unleashed by vocalist Philly Byrne. Never mind that they all emerged from a quarter-decade time capsule -- it's futile to resist album standouts like aptly named opener "Slam Anthem," the stunningly and viciously precise "Escape from Scarecrow Mountain," and the mini-moshing colossus "Skeletron," which is also the album's longest cut at three minutes! In short: combined with the lovingly rendered packaging and gregarious delivery method (free is free!), it'll be difficult for even the most cynical trad-thrash curmudgeon to hate on Gama Bomb during this laugh-a-minute 30-minute thrill ride. Just enjoy it and keep your arms and feet inside the vehicle at all times.

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