Review Summary: Onslaught's first full-length album since 1989, "Killing Peace" is proof that thrash still has some fight left in it.
Trends, as many of you well know, disappear as quickly as they came, and unfortunately, thrash is now dying out. It could be that every band is nearly a carbon-copy of one of the greats, or that today’s youth just aren’t interested, but it’s true that thrash metal is slowly turning over. Although some of the bigger names, such as Sodom
, continue to work out albums, they’re all that’s left. While new faces like Flesh Made Sin
appear, many don’t stay around for too long. All that thrash fans really have to hold onto at the moment are the veterans and hope that they still got a few good licks to keep the genre breathing, and that’s where Onslaught
Taking the backseat to larger acts, Onslaught
was formed in the UK and never really reached the higher status. It never seemed to bother them, however, especially since their album “Power from Hell” is considered a classic in the thrash community. And just like many other metal bands, they embraced the Satan-gimmick, which Slayer
has undoubtedly perfected. But just like Slayer
, they seemed to mean it, which gave way to stronger fan base, and to their reunion.
“Killing Peace”, the bands first full-length album since 1989, shows no signs of age; it’s as if they’ve been preserved in ice for the past 18 years. “Burn”, “Killing Peace”, and “Shock and Awe” push the audio levels to the limit with bombastic drums, buzz saw tuned guitars, and soaring vocals. Nige Rockett (a founding member…and that’s a sweet name) and Alan Jordan don’t really throw out any change-up in the common thrash arsenal, but they keep the riffs tight-locked and heavy. It’ll only take one listen to the chugging riffs on “Tested to Destruction” to get your head banging. Their solos also don’t really bring anything new to table, but they show off their shredding chops on “Prayer for the Dead” and “Shock and Awe”. It’d be hard as well to dismiss Steve Grice’s (another founding member) drum work, as his bass drum is highlighted in nearly every song, especially his machine-gun intro to “Shock and Awe”. But the real gem here is the vocal performance from Sky Keeler. It’s really not typical in thrash to find someone with a great vocal range, but Sky possesses it. Whether it’s growling on “Burn”, speed-talking on “Destroyer of Worlds”, or just plain screaming on “Twisted Jesus”, Sky excels.
However, this album tends to lag a bit in a few key areas. “Killing Peace” seems to feel a bit previously owned in some areas, especially in the lyrics. Lines like “Religion is hate and religion is pain!” seem to remind me too much of Slayer’s
lyrics from the song “Cult” off their new album. Don’t get me wrong, as some of these lyrics are quite intriguing, such as Sky’s constant war-cry of “Spitting blood in the face of God!” on the title track, but for the most part they're undeniably average. To go along with some seemingly borrowed lyrics, one of the main riffs to “Twisted Jesus” sounds too identical to Exodus’s
riff on the song “Now Thy Death Day Come”. And the bass performance by James Hinder could’ve been left out of the mix and you wouldn’t even know it was gone, as it doesn’t even add a good “thump” here and there.
Even with some noticeable drawbacks, “Killing Peace” is still a top-notch thrash album. Most of these tracks, especially the title track and “Shock and Awe” will be stuck in your head for days to come. It’s really easy to see that Onslaught
just wanted to make a simple, good ole thrash metal record, and in this they accomplished. Because all in all, “Killing Peace” won’t cause any evolution in the genre, it just shows that it’s still got some life in it after all.
A Prayer for the Dead
Shock and Awe