|Review: Vicious Attack - 2009 Demo
Year released: 2009
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: November 25, 2009
Reviewed by: Mike Henn
How do you rate this release?
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (6 Votes)
If you aren't an Illinois or Midwestern US native, I can imagine it'd be difficult to name more than a few big bands in the Chicago scene. Areas like southern California and the east coast are intense hotspots for this new breed of Thrash that's been making the rounds lately. The Midwest only spawned a handful of classic bands in any genre, let alone just Thrash. Trouble, Morbid Saint, Cyclone Temple, and Usurper are a few off the top of my head, while I could probably write a novel about all of the great bands to come out of Los Angeles and San Francisco in the Thrash genre alone. In the new millennium, a few local favorites have spurned and a couple have even made somewhat of a name for themselves. Infinite Missiles, Cross Examination, and Diamond Plate are a few that have gained some renown. One local Chicago favorite, and possibly future force, is Vicious Attack.
First off, the guys at Gunpoint Studios did a damn fine job of making this demo sound professional. Thankfully, it's not the glittery sheen of Gama Bomb, it manages to be both dirty and clear along the lines of early Slayer and Exodus. That sound is, frankly, how Thrash should sound. I must say the only thing that bothers me about the production is the extreme panning of the two guitars. I never thought this sounded good when done in a Thrash context as the music is just too fast and chaotic for a pair of ears to handle when a blazing lead is tearing at your right ear and a sharp rhythm is slicing your left. Listen to Slayer's Decade of Aggression and tell me I'm wrong, I dare you.
Vicious Attack are a prime example of why I say Thrash can never really die out. It can lose favor, it can become stagnant, and it can be outdone in terms of speed and brutality. But the fact of the matter is that none of that matters when it's done well. This demo absolutely reeks of early and late (although no middle era influence) Exodus and Kreator at their most vicious, but that means precisely dick considering how energetic and aggressive the fellas behind the music are. The vocals resemble Rob Dukes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing considering Dukes is only really bad when Gary Holt decides to give him the spotlight (which is unfortunately often). Here, the vocals are used as an instrument just like the guitars and finds itself syncopating with the sharp chords rather frequently, integrating itself into the music as a whole as opposed to being layered over the top just because instrumental bands rarely get popular. There is a hilarious screech at the end of Infestation that breaks the flow somewhat, but works as a decent climax and release of energy. The guitars and riff work further prove my point, as while they're about middle of the herd in terms of creativity, you never once doubt the band's conviction to thrashing faces off. The rhythm recalls Anthrax and Sodom with their insane precision and tempo. Unfortunately the leads pose a bit of a problem, as Gomer Pyle seems to improvise most of the solos Kerry King style (aka pick an area on the neck and hit as many notes as possible in the time allotted). Most of the leads are very choppy and amateurish as a result. But once again, it manages to work well against the unrestrained nature of the backing band.
While Vicious Attack is no Sabbat in terms of speed, no Destruction in terms of riff writing, nor Kreator in terms of intensity, they are a very capable addition to the Thrash wave of the new millennium. I sincerely doubt they will rise to the levels that Warbringer, Evile and the like have risen to, but they could garner quite the fan base if they spent the majority of their careers only opening for bigger bands. Thrash is a simple beast, and Vicious Attack know exactly how it ticks... show up, destroy, leave.
P.S. I own the first copy of this release, so if they actually wind up being huge, I'll eat my words and then rub it in everybody's faces.
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