Review Summary: The perfect thrash metal album with so much to love about it.
In the world of thrash metal there are only winners and losers. There is no such thing as an average as *** thrash album, but albums that are either amazing or albums that flat out suck. It is immaterial as to whether a band has some average songs because the albums themselves are one of the two. So it gives me great pleasure to introduce yet another classic thrash album from a fantastic band named Num Skull. The album i speak of is Ritually Abused, one that flew under so many peoples radar for God knows what reason. This is some of the hardest hitting thrash out there and man it hits hard.
The riff work is the meat of a thrash album and on this album it is some of the hardest out there. The riff work to this album sticks primarily to the mid paced and fast register of thrash riffs and they are always as heavy as it gets. Listen to the opening to the title track before it dives into a fast flurry of technically proficient tremolo picking, and listen to the absolutely crushing slower riff. When it picks up we are treated to some of the most aggressive vocals out there over the top of some surprisingly memorable tremolo picked riffs. The bass fill that comes at around a minute in is one of the best moments of bass work in any album anywhere. The title track to this album is a thrash classic that so many people have missed out on over the years which is hardly fair as this song really does destroy all in its path. The riff at 1.40 has some great drum rolls over the top of it and a beat that is almost untouchable that feels like a steamroller about to run you over. Following this we are back to another ridiculously fast tremolo riff and a manic solo as the drumming goes into overdrive with some of the fastest beats in all of thrash metal. After the solo comes a marvelous set of mid-paced riffs that could not have been better play. This song reminds me the most of well known classics such as Agent Orange and Angel Of Death but perhaps tops both of these.
The soloing on this album is primarily just the usual shred fests but they are played with such raw passion that it is hard to ignore the talent on display. They cram so many notes into such a short space of time that it is hard to argue that the lead guitarist of this band is one of the most talented in the genre. Ignore what you thought you had been taught about thrash soloing by bands like Sodom and Slayer-easily accessible thrash bands that every ***er knows no matter where they were brought up or what music they were brought up on-this is some of the best thrash out there. Need more convincing? Listen to The Henchmen. Think thrash hit its peak in 1990 with Rust In Peace? Suck a dick, this is even better. This is thrash how it should be done with a mixture of great slower riffs and some insanely fast tremolo picking and some of the most aggressive vocals in all of the genre. The production is right up there with the best thrash production jobs, being very raw and unpolished to the point that at times everything blends together into a wall of sound, but in a good way, not in the ***ed up way that Death Magnetic did so. This is a good thrash album, that was a bad thrash album-see the difference? Plus, check out The Henchmen's ridiculously fast drumming under the solo-an actual blast beat in thrash metal? How many band's have the balls to do that, particularly in 1988.
The vocal work on this album is absolutely insane. At times he goes into a proto-death growl but usually sticks to the usual thrash yelping. At times, such as in the song The Henchmen, he shifts it up to a more high pitched shriek such as the ones found on Dark Angel's Darkness Descends. The vocalist of this band adds an interesting dynamic to their sound that works more as another instrument than as a voice to channel the feelings of hate shown off in each of the songs. Ritually Abused is a crazy thrash metal frenzy of manic vocals and if you can listen to Turn Of A Screw without wanting to *** your throat up screaming along to, you are not a thrasher. Even the bass work on this album is crazy and is audible throughout, although not quite as memorable as the other instruments. If you can't get into the shifts in tempo that are constant on this album, go back to crying to your My Chemical Romance nonsense-this is a heavy as *** album with so much raw hate and aggression packed into it that you will probably be crying in a corner. Even when hearing it even now after around a thousand listens, i still get my fist balling up and want to scream at the nearest redneck about how much of a prick he is. This is how music should be done-where it channels its emotion directly into your heart and makes you feel the same way the musicians did when they wrote it.
This is thrash metal as it should be heard and written and isn't for idiots who walk around with a Metallica t-shirt and either consider them to be the best and most br00tal band in the world or who have never heard a god damn song by them. This is ***ing fast paced thrash metal with a string of ridiculously well written tremolo picked riffs and even better mid paced thrash riffs. The best comparison this could be put up against is Sodom's Agent Orange, which pulled off the same slow to heavy dynamic but this does it even better. If you have not heard this album and consider yourself a thrasher get right on it. If you have heard it, i would hope you have it fived.