Shrapnel (UK)
Raised on Decay


3.6
great

Review

by Voivod STAFF
September 25th, 2017 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: These English thrashers have come to stay.

In his latest book, El Fin de la Historia (Spanish for “The End of History”), Chilean novelist Luis Sepúlveda reveals the story of a veteran compatriot sniper, who is coerced by his former military and political commanders in executing one final contract before being allowed to return to his civilian normality. Through the main character’s struggle in rising above his predicament, the narrative tracks the tumultuous lifelines of people Sepúlveda refers to as “children of defeat”; Latin American civilians-turned-soldiers who were engaged in diverse military operations around the globe, with most of their struggles ending unfavorably, and eventually deemed obsolete upon the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

In hindsight, Sepúlveda’s categorization could also apply to the procurators of thrash metal in the ‘90s, a period where the genre was largely considered as irrelevant. One could go as far as to speculate in favor of a zero-sum game, analogous to the reckless/sham growth insinuated by the iceberg-based megacity on the cover of Shrapnel’s new album, or the bout of most metal bands in making ends meet, in today’s crumbling music industry. Speaking of which, Shrapnel’s crowdfunding campaign for their sophomore album is somewhat surprising, in the sense that their debut was/is so strong, that proper label support should have been in order. Be that as it may, Raised on Decay maps English thrashers at their current best position, in terms of inspiration and technical means available.

A handful of superficial listens will trick the interested listener into believing that the band’s deliberations, have not changed one bit. Granted, Shrapnel’s instrumental prowess remains well above average; Rhythm section is prone in conflating precision, ferocity and musicality, a combination of traits few other thrash contemporaries can brag about. The exact same apply for the guitars. Lyrical content is well within the genre’s scope, with Jae Hadley’s vocal temperament keeping the blood pumping every step of the way. And yet, Raised on Decay is a perceivably different affair, compared to its predecessor. Whereas a great deal of the arrangements in The Virus Conspires had twists and turns, grooves and bumps that worked (and still work) in favor of the album’s life span, Shrapnel’s new album feels more firmly put together, more linear in design. The Englishmen’s gig continues to combine different schools of thrash (Kreator, Testament), but this time around, the heavy/speed metal element (Judas Priest and other outfits come to mind more often than not) has a prominent role, that’s expected to really deliver in live concerts.

The aforementioned setting takes place at the expense of some replay value and the absence of standout songs, also due to the sound work. Contrary to the crisp, dry texture of The Virus Conspires where the listener felt every note literally plowing his/her ears, the new album has a more low-end and rounded production, one though that does not grant the same depth to all instruments at all times; hence, a bit of livelihood is elided. At instances where (the ever shredding) lead guitars take control, their rhythm counterparts could be beefier in the rear. The same could be said for the vocals, but strictly in comparison to the previous album. The above are probably ascribed to a leaner budget allocated by Shrapnel this time around, yet the realization of a livelier sound may not be too far off, as more (or less…) obvious alternatives in terms of sound producers are out there, having already been availed by bands of smaller/comparable magnitude.

All in all, Raised on Decay is solid proof that Shrapnel will carry on to whatever end, and much like Sepúlveda’s “children of defeat”, rising above despite being raised on decay (sic), is a definite win that no virtual detractor can denigrate.



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user ratings (3)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2017


7605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

Constructive criticism is most welcome.





The album is streaming at Spotify:

http://open.spotify.com/album/1BQ7QtyPne0rjVjVh4Jfhv

Digging: Fleurety - The White Death

BlackwaterPork
September 25th 2017


1715 Comments


Nice review mate, not massively into thrash but might check this

Digging: Desolate Shrine - Deliverance From The Godless Void

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2017


7605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

Band lies among the best in the genre, although their debut album appeals to me more, but that's merely a personal assessment.

bloc
September 25th 2017


44292 Comments


Gotta hear this. Haven't heard any memorable thrash this year

Digging: Beastmilk - Climax

Evokaphile
September 25th 2017


5881 Comments


Amazing review m8. You made me wanna check this hard. Invisipos'd :]

Digging: Slowdive - Slowdive

aaronrkc
September 27th 2017


324 Comments


Thought this was Shrapnel the UK hardcore band :/

Digging: Yung Lean - Stranger

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2017


7605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

^^That band is tagged differently in the database.

Evokaphile
September 27th 2017


5881 Comments


Ahh thatd explain why i couldnt find a damn thing about it. I thought posting reviews prior to release wasnt allowed tho? Or are the staff graced woth above-the-law privileges?

Mutty
September 27th 2017


37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

is there a stream of some sort for this?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2017


7605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

^^ Found two songs streaming at Spotify (check my first comment)

Mutty
September 27th 2017


37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thx ill check



right, judging by those two tracks I'd say that their previous one was superior to this.

I also completely agree with what you pointed out in your penultimate paragraph about production. this one's a bit muddy and lacks the attack and clarity of The Virus Conspires (it's not just cause of spotify, i know it kinda distorts things but i can tell there's something sounding awkward here)





Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2017


7605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

^^ I don't know why, but Spotify messes with the sound considerably in the two songs



My promo sounded a lot better, it can't get any better as far as digital sound work goes, yet it has the mishap I mentioned in the review.



A much fairer comparison would be to listen to the two albums from the same source (Bandcamp, for example), but I'm just thinking outloud here.

Mutty
September 27th 2017


37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

y Ill do that if they decide to upload it

TheNotrap
September 28th 2017


8633 Comments


Don't know these guys, will check it out.

Nice review, as usual.

Digging: Sorcerer - The Crowning of the Fire King

Mutty
September 28th 2017


37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

check The Virus Conspires first it's rly good



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr6SMNSdCY4

RippingCorpse1986
September 28th 2017


126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In my opinion 2017 has been a respectable year for thrash, both for legendary and new bands.

Didn't know about this band, this looks interesting. Great review.

zakalwe
September 28th 2017


23373 Comments


Fuck me. Complete Resection starts of okish but takes off after 2 mins or so and slays. Quality band name as well. Dig it.

zakalwe
September 29th 2017


23373 Comments


This is quality

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2017


7605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

^^Αgreed



Finally the album is streaming in full at Spotify.





Edit:

Vocals at the beginning of "Choir of Wolves" have "Mille Petrozza" written all over them.



It's weird, but the sound of the Spotify stream is dirtier (and closer to my subjective liking) compared to the promo experience.

Mutty
September 29th 2017


37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Having listened to it I still prefer their previous one. The Virus Conspired offered a more stripped down and familiar (to me, at least) thrash sound. I miss the more staccato, defined guitar approach... it had less 'modern' embellishments than this one. Also the vocalist tries more stuff here and it's a hit and miss affair when it comes to my taste. Still a good release overall. Jester (fucking rules) and Antichrist are the tracks im gonna jam from now when I revisit this.



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