By Inheritance



by Jeremy Wolfers USER (114 Reviews)
August 10th, 2019 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The apex of technical thrash metal.

By Inheritance avoids every stumbling block of its peers to become pretty much the best technical thrash album ever released.

Unlike Heathen or Watchtower, the vocals are a seriously good contribution to the music, with Flemming Ronsdorf's signature mixture between operatic cleans and razor-edged snarl pretty much perfectly complementing the melodic thrash of the instrumentation. The guitar work is out of this world, with speedy tremolo picked segments feeling especially abrasive whilst melodic leads and licks always provide effective resolution, such as in Life in Bondage. Largely the most aggressive track on the album, the band manage to squeeze hooky leads and harmonies in at the perfect intervals. In addition, the technicality of the music is more evident in the rhythm than in other tech-thrash albums, with more intricate picking patterns and some interesting shifting time signatures, such as in the breaks of Equal at First. Production wise, the album is very solid, with a fairly low-gain guitar tone lending some organic sharpness to the tone and the bass carrying most of the distortion, allowing for maximum clarity in the busy guitar work whilst maintaining a lot of weight.

Despite a heavy reliance on harmonic minor leads, By Inheritance manages to sound very varied overall, in part due to its structure. The opening pair of full tracks are probably the most epic on the album, with the legendary Khomaniac's rapid changes between parts and long instrumental intro leading to it feeling fully realized. Beneath the Clay is somewhat faster but hits the same notes, with similarly melodic verses but a darker feel and a better chorus. The title track manages to shift the tone very well to something more lighthearted, whilst Bombfood's classic thrash-ballad style manages to set the necessary variation of pace and tone for the fast Life in Bondage. Best of all is the album's closer, Back in the Trash, with some mean groovy riffs and one of the best choruses on the album, along with probably the most varied rhythms and tempos.

With its stronger production values, tight and varied songwriting, and wonderfully intricate guitar work, By Inheritance manages to outperform pretty much every other technical thrash album. Where something like Never, Neverland might resort to some corny tropes or Control and Resistance might distract with weak vocals, By Inheritance hits with satisfying and perfect consistency, cementing itself as one of the best metal albums of the extremely stacked year of 1990.

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user ratings (343)
other reviews of this album
Drew Tyler (4)
Perhaps one of technical thrash metal's defining albums, By Inheritance shows a band on top of their...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
August 10th 2019


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. This album rules

August 10th 2019


I'm more of a Terror Squad fan, but love the metal. Nice job.

August 10th 2019


Album Rating: 4.0

Respect for this album.

Digging: Growth (AUS) - The Smothering Arms Of Mercy

August 10th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

Hell yes m/

August 11th 2019


Good review for a great album, but can't say I agree on the "Heathen vocals" part.

August 12th 2019


Album Rating: 4.0


August 12th 2019


Band is still surprisingly good even in the 2010s

Digging: Ultravox - Systems Of Romance

August 13th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

"The apex of technical thrash metal."

Nah that title goes to Realm, but this is really close.

August 14th 2019


Album Rating: 5.0

Love this album and am ready to brand it as a Classic myself, but I really don't see this review as anything more than a description of the songs' structure and style.

I mean... there's neither praise, nor criticism, nor anything evaluative at all in your review.

August 14th 2019


Album Rating: 5.0

I think the problem is that thrash metal is hard to provide praise that isn't like "oh yeh the riffs are sick man", so I tried to shoot for more of a descriptive style.

I'm sort of trying to do a variety of thrash metal reviews atm, so it might be that I focused too much on points that make it distinct from other thrash albums

In any case, point taken, but simultaneously I think there is something inherent to the appeal of the genre which makes it difficult to meaningfully praise things without those points of praise being repeated over and over. I think for less conventional thrash albums (I'm getting onto Manic Impressions soon-ish) it'd be a lot easier to provide a greater variety of positive commentary, but here I think it'd be hard to squeeze in more than "the melodies are great", "the vocals are great", "the riffs are great". I think some of that goes without saying and is pretty unhelpful in actually discerning if you would like the album.

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