Who, or what, rips harder than a bikini wax, while still having more hooks than a Velcro strip? Who is it that just might have made the best thrash album of 2015, while also arguably the year’s “funnest” record? I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Actually, you’re off the hook, because if I killed you now you wouldn’t be able to hear the new GAMA BOMB album Untouchable Glory, out October 30 on AFM Records.
I’ve always described GAMA BOMB as the true standard bearers of humor-thrash in the vein of ANTHRAX’s seminal Among The Living. Personally, I love when an album has a strong visual or lyrical theme to tie the songs together. In the case of thrash, it helps if that theme is something other than “anger”, “war,”, or “angry war”. GAMA BOMB’s last outing, The Terror Tapes, is one of my favorite thrash albums of all time, and it used the old-school horror B-movie aesthetic to an incredibly effective result, effortlessly navigating the quagmire of thrash metal clichés and managing to touch on topics like drug use, zombies, and excessive drinking without falling headlong into them. Untouchable Glory continues in a similar vein, with a general focus on action B-movies this time around. It’s so refreshing to hear a thrash band have this much fun without resorting to your typical lyrics about, well, thrashing, and tackling the ol’ drinking and smoking in a way that makes it feel like they were the first to do so.
One thing that I always enjoyed about GAMA BOMB is their seemingly never-ending box of riffs and hooks born of sheer proficiency. Philly Byrne is one of the most distinctive vocalists in the game right now, able to belt, bark, and soar like a dog with wings on a conveyor. Drummer Paul Caffrey continues to boast an impeccable technique that can ebb and flow, gallop and groove, and everything in between as fits the song. For a band that’s constantly shooting off of all cylinders, having a drummer who knows how to vary his beats up and can throw off fills without making the song too busy is a rare pleasure. With a drum sound not unlike thumping a large ripe watermelon, he pairs with fantastic bass player and essentially second vocalist Joe McGuigan to liven up every one of their songs. Their twin guitar attack is mother-distressingly fast, especially on “She Thing”, the fastest GAMA BOMB song to date, which speeds up and slows down just enough to not weary you with endless gallops and tremolos. And with the longest song on the album at 3:14, the urge to listen to just one more or replay the last song is irresistible.
There are no bad songs on this album. There aren’t even mediocre songs. Opener “Ninja Untouchables / Untouchable Glory” has easily one of the catchiest verses I’ve ever heard, paired with an absolutely absurd hook that has to be heard to be believed (Hoo ha!). “Avenge Me” is a perfect example of the vocal interplay between McGuigan and Byrne with an utterly killer guitar solo to boot…in less than two and a half minutes! “Tuck Your T-Shirt In” brings a waddling bass line in with puck-as-funk lyrics about social conformity in the verse but with an utterly thunderous final minute that really drives home the early ANTHRAX comparison. “She Thing” and “Witching Mania” are blazing numbers that showcase Byrne’s raw vocal power along with closing double-shot “I Will Haunt You” and “After The Fire” which are, frankly, perfect songs. Every chorus on this album is a winner, and even the relatively weaker songs on this album are nothing short of excellent. GAMA BOMB has been on a hot streak the past several years, and their metallic assault is clearly not only untouchable but also seemingly unstoppable.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM