Review Summary: The first Pride was a riot
Hey, remember the days when having political lyrics in thrash metal was more than a bunch of bibble-babble conspiracy bull***? While it’s debatable as to whether that mythical time ever even existed, Transgressive makes their personal stances abundantly clear. As with the group’s previous EPs, Extreme Transgression is a ferociously leftist manifesto detailing LGTBQ+ concerns and systemic oppression. As much as I love metal’s fantasies about taking down some vaguely defined “powers that be,” sometimes you just gotta be reminded that said powers mostly consist of bigots, politicians, cops, and the moderates enabling them.
Even if you were to just focus on the music itself, the band offers a unique blend on their choice genre. While the vocals opt for a blunt rasp in the vein of Power Trip or Warbringer, the rhythms and structures come with the speedy precision of modern day Kreator or Heathen (no surprise there with titles referencing both, bands). There’s also room for a melodic overcast to shine with clear production, dramatic leads, and cleaner segments ensuring a sound whose aggression is tempered but never rendered toothless.
Of course, the pedigree of the musicians involved guarantees the album’s tight as hell execution. Alicia Cordisco remains one of the most instantly recognizable guitarists in modern metal boosted by a thick tone and signature trills with her shouts thoroughly soaked in venom. The others certainly don’t slouch with bassist Leona Hayward operating on equally bombastic gallops and lead guitarist Josh Payne supplementing things nicely.
While this consistently speedy operation can admittedly make some songs blend together, the lyrics are unwavering and there are some tracks that stand out. With “Thirteen Twelve” setting things up with the best sample possible, the title track highlights the group’s intentions with anthemic fervor. From there, “Landlord Liquifier” comes close to a mid-tempo grinding groove while “We Protect Us” gets even more urgent courtesy of its extra vocals from Soulmass/Wraithstorm growler Lux Edwards. Other tracks like “Feet to the Fire,” “Stonewall,” and “Bury Me in Rainbow Flags” also do well to grab the listener’s attention.
Overall, Extreme Transgression is the sort of album that thrash and perhaps metal in general needs right now. The political lyrics are delivered with the sort of conviction that other bands seem afraid to express beyond opaque subtext while the precise musicianship gives its messages even greater focus. There’s certainly room for more sonic development down the line, but the vision is well-secured. It’s themes are immediate yet the structures suggest growing potential. In a cultural landscape that desperately clamors for separation between the artist and their art, Transgression has no such interest in hiding who they are.