The Thrash Metal landscape is full of sound-alikes and wanna-be’s right now. I can’t tell you how many thrash acts find their way to my inbox only to have absolutely NOTHING setting them apart from other bands. I try to give them all a fair shake, I really do. But there are just so many of them it’s overwhelming. And while it’s true not everyone can be the next WARBRINGER, DUST BOLT, or HAVOK (the Undisputed Champs of the NWOATM movement!) there is more often than not something missing. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel in the form of L.A. guys ANGER AS ART and their new album Ad Mortem Festinamus out march 11 via Old School Metal Records.
After a brief intro the group gets right down to business with “Pissing On Your Grave” (complete with pissing sound effect at the end for good measure) and “Aim For the Heart”. This double-shot nearly snapped my head off my neck at work with a lethal combination of fierce riffs and rapid-fire drums. Could this be the next thrash band to get excited about? Let’s read on…”Tombward” is a sonic tornado that would have Nationwide Insurance adjustors working overtime if it ever touched down in a residential neighborhood. Not surprisingly it’s one of my favorites. The vocal is one of the more aggressive lines found on the disc as well.
“L.A. State of Mind” is another one I keep playing the shit out of; it goes hard in the paint and gets a ton of fast break points, something that always gets me all riled up. One thing about this band is that they never seem to run out of fresh guitar licks. Nothing about them sounds tired, or has a “been there, done that” feel. Sure there are some similarities to the bands that came before them, but it’s that way with any genre of rock and metal. And while they’re not reinventing the wheel, they find a way to get you air-jamming along before you realize what’s happened. “Unknowing Undead” is a perfect example of this and yet another standout, especially solo-wise.
I was a bit taken aback by “Hammer Blade and Twisting Fire”on my first listen because I couldn’t figure out where it was headed. The vocals are strange at first, also. But after two more spins I was into it. The bass pounds away for the entire 4:16 and while the song is different, it fits the other ones and is well-placed in the tracklist. “We Hurry Into Death” should be called “Dual Guitars Working Overtime” because that’s exactly what the fuck it is and I love it! Another speedster is “2 Minutes Hate” but despite that it’s merely an OK song and nothing more.
“Praise of the Firehead” features some lovely acoustic guitars and clean singing for about 1:30 and then the whole band kicks the door in. Not exactly a ballad, but slowed down, and with deeper texture it shows off another side of this multi-faceted group of players. The vocal delivery is spot-on, too. The disc ends with “Dim Carcosa” and a heavy metal Phantom of the Opera-style intro before everything hits the fan over the course of six minutes and change. The vocals even hover in the Bruce Dickinson range a few times. All told, Ad Mortem Festinamus is a very solid Thrash Metal record from ANGER AS ART. It is also a fun reminder of the genre’s Golden Age and one I think many of us can get behind.
STANDOUT TRACKS: L.A. State of Mind”, “Tombward”, “We Hurry Into Death”, “Unknowing Undead”, “Praise of the Firehead”