Review Summary: It's time to thrash like it's 86'
Ireland. A land of rolling, green, luscious hills. Cobblestone pathways and deep blue lakes. Happy pub goers traverse from tavern to tavern drinking and having a good time. A man stands on a craggy outcropping and looks on to the sunset as large plane flies overhead. The plane dips low and drops a small metal package. As it falls the plane swiftly soars away. The package detonates and a wave of exploding death zooms across the landscape. Hundreds of thousands are instantly obliterated, waves of blood and gore sweep across the once green land. Those who haven't been reduced to piles of sludgy flesh are deformed and mutated, feasting on the meat of the living. The inevitable demise of the human race by an army of blood-thirsty zombies has begun. There is no hope. Thankfully, this is not the case in the real world, but it is the case for Gama Bomb.
Gama Bomb is thrash metal band from Ireland and they thrash hard, fast and drunk. On their first full-length album Survival Of The Fastest, they sonically assault with thrashy riffs and an good time. Vocalist Philly Byrne shrieks in a devastating falsetto highs while lead guitarist Domo Dixon shreds his axe with the whirling authority of a celtic warlord. Rhythm Luke Graham plays the riffs into oblivion. Bassist Joe McGuigan proficiently plays his instrument bringing a thunder groove and dominance while i'm not sure which drummer is on this album but he sits back brings rhythm and strength. While all this seems to be a great combination, it rarely happens at the same time leaving the listener with an empty feeling on the inside.
This album is strewn with good and bad. It can go from a bad song to great song to an absolutely horrendous song. It starts with 'Zombie Creeping Flesh', a song about zombies, which as you find out happens a lot with Gama Bomb. The riffs are sweet and the solos are sweet. Philly sings high but his voice seems thin at times. 'Steel Teeth (The Metal Jaws)' is next and doesn't carry on the energy. The song is all over the place and the vocals doesn't seem like it's in the right song. Zombie Kommand picks up quickly with nice, strong drumming and an riff that I swear is the Indigo Plateau theme from Pokemon Red/Blue.
The album, while having some great songs, is brought down by the songs that seem put together quickly and as filler which is not something you want on a album under 30 minutes. Songs such as Fortified Zone, Racists!, Steel Teeth, and Nuke The Skeets are just filler. Their riffs are boring, the vocals are thin, the drumming is off and the songs are just lame overall. Their lyrics are not well done, which can't really go for any of the songs. Most notably Racists!, which is a song against racism. Which is not bad in its premise but just doesn't fit with a musical thrash backing.
On a purely musically level, Survival Of The Fastest is slightly above average. The riffs are pummeling and solos are tight, shredding and they catch your ear. The bass is audible and carries well and the drums assault with double bass. Vocally, Philly can shriek. His voice is always high-register and a bit weak at times. Songs such as Atomizer and Scientists? showcase when the band works together and produces a song that just makes you want to headband. Also featured on this album are two songs in demo form. Hell Trucker and Bullet Belt would be featured on their second album Citizen Brain. These versions are simpler with parts not included here which are founds on the finalized version. These tracks are backbone to their superior recording and demonstrate exceptional musicianship and catchiness.
Overall, Survival Of The Fastest is a fun ride for thrash fans that don't take the genre dead serious. The lyrics of zombies and nuclear war are a major staple in their music and add a sense of drunken fun thats hard to match. A recommended listen for all.