Review Summary: Solid modern thrash metal with lightning-fast vocals and a riffing style that matches while offering something more.
You don’t hear of thrash metal coming out of Mexico often but Strike Master has shown that good quality thrash can come from anywhere in the world when the circumstances are just right. The circumstances here are a group of metal heads who just want to write solid thrash while adding an awesome factor of unique vocals. Strike Master formed in 2004 and has released 3 LP’s to date. Vicisous Nightmare contains some of their finest moments with a tracklist that is all about oppressive thrash metal that never lets up.
Before jumping into the meat, I wanna take a few moments and comment on the production style. We get a healthy blend of old school raw thrash production coupled with enough clarity to hear every instrument present. You won’t have to worry about overproduced thrash production found on releases such as Havok’s Time is Up, rather, Kreator’s Terrible Certainty is the best way to describe what you’ll find here. The bass work of Captain Ricardo, which I know is a random name is very much audible and really is a strong supporting factor to Strike Master’s style. Ricardo usually follows the riffs of the lead guitar but what a breath of fresh air it is to hear bass work in modern thrash.
Speaking of the productive comparisons to Kreator’s Terrible Certainty, Vicious Nightmare contains lot of similar riffing styles as well; mainly the type that is both fast and yet still melodic in various ways. Take for instance the opening riffs to “Prophetic Chemical Death”; the riffs are so playful yet technical and tasty. This palatable stance is littered all throughout this album. It’s pretty notable that like most modern thrash bands who constantly riff power chord after power chord, Strike Master utilizes a different approach. You’ll still catch power chords here and there but you will find there is a refreshing style of singular notes and tremolo arpeggios coupled within power chords. Guitarist/Vocalist Colonel Camou brings such a fresh compositional style to their formula and really is the main person that elevates Strike Master to where they are. He’s obviously a guy who has listened to tons of thrash albums and lives the style too judging by the pictures I’ve seen of him. I always have a lotta respect for someone who tech riff as hard as he does will pulling off vocals that are just as technical. As mentioned before his vocal approach is very fast and aggressive; faster than anything I’ve ever heard before. When you start with the opening track “Black Violence” after the short instrumental intro, you will immediately see what I’m talking about it. I literally jizzed for about an hour after hearing this track. Those vocals in combination with the riffs are some of the best trash vocals I have ever heard and Camou pulls them off like an elite thrash god.
“Inflexible Steel” is one of the most amazing tracks off this album; this album that contains no weak tracks. What I really enjoyed about this track was the passion. There a certain driving feeling here that just keep pushing forward and never lets up, even during tempo changes. The track starts some sweet alternate bass riffs over drums before the guitar joins in. A medium pace is quickly overtaken by bpms in the 200’s. Tremolos and power chords dance back and forth under Camou’s vocals before a ripping solo jumps in over the set speeds. The riffs continue after the solo is similar tempo. And then, boom! Right at the mid-track mark we get a sweet tasty melo-thrash breakdown that fits better than penises in vaginas. The melodious temp shift continues as an emotional second solo jumps in and takes the song to a whole new level. This is what thrash is all about; finding that passion and never letting go and Strike Master knows how to makes something special out of something that is so common, which is thrash metal.
I encourage anyone who is annoyed by weak bands in today’s modern thrash revival phase to give this album a listen. If you’re into thrash metal, even in the slightest, you have to hear this. Strvke Master have given me faith that near classic thrash metal albums can still be created. Hail Strike Master hard.