Review Summary: An enjoyable, albeit generic straightforward thrash album.
Instrumental prowess isn't by any means a primary focus in thrash metal. Sure, it requires a bit more proficiency than, say, hardcore punk would, but at the same time there seems to exist a mindset that anyone who can play fast can play thrash, regardless of how well they can play.
Now, this doesn't mean that thrash is without its technical branch, so to speak. A fair amount of very talented musicians are heavily involved in the world of thrash metal, as demonstrated clearly by the likes of tech-thrash bands such as Artillery, Watchtower, and Heathen. The problem that I find with some of these bands, however, is that their more technical focus leads them to lose some of the aggression and attitude that makes thrash what it is. Very few bands seem to be able to mix thrash's aggressive nature effectively with a high degree of technicality and tightness. Texan thrashers Gammacide are one of these bands.
Of course, when I say that Gammacide is technical, I don't want to suggest that they're playing diminished, Necrophagist-esque riffs in a multitude of wacky time signatures. “Technical” is somewhat of a subjective term, and this is still thrash, after all. When I say that Gammacide is technical, I mean that they have the ability to play with both neck-snapping speed and spot-on precision, not missing a single beat throughout the album's entirety. The guitar work on Victims of Science
is very refined and tight, with Rick Perry and Scott Shelby delivering a plethora of straightforward, bulldozing thrash riffs from the first few seconds of Endangered Species
, all the way through to the end of Observations
A big thing that sets this album apart from a multitude of other thrash albums I find is the soloing. Gammacide manages to break free of a lot of thrash's chromatic cluster***s, instead staying loyal to an actual scale during their solos, setting Gammacide's two guitarists' reputation as actual accomplished musicians in stone (accomplished musicians referring to thrash standards). The solos aren't mind blowing when compared to a majority of other metal bands, especially in the face of neo-classical and technical death metal. For this specific genre, however, they do their job well. They're tight, fast, and straight to the point, each solo fitting into each song without sounding awkward or out of place.
However, that's about all there is in terms of uniqueness as far as Victims
goes. Once you get past the first couple of tracks, you'll realize that you've heard this before in a countless number of thrash albums. Sure, songs such as Incubus
and Shock Treatment
have some unique moments, but expect the same blistering riffs, the same shouted sociopolitical/toxic waste lyrics and the same bass-snare-bass drumming as every other straight thrash album. Victims of Science
is as straightforward as straightforward gets. That doesn't seem to take away from the enjoyability of listening to it, as the attitude and intensity that gives thrash its reputation are present in their highest degree. However, until Gammacide manages to develop a sound that can be considered their own, don't expect anything beyond straight-up thrash metal from them.
Overall, Gammacide's Victims of Science
is by all means a very enjoyable listen if you're in the mood for a straight, balls to the wall thrash album, complete with pit-worthy riffs and good musicianship. In the search of something innovative and new, however, you'd be better off skipping over this one, seeing as there's none of that to be found here.