I just took a fresh listen to the two albums which came before this recent release. Their 2010 album, Ironbound
, peaked at #192 on the Billboard 200 chart. It did rock out pretty good. But the songs didn't sound very original, with the recycled thrash structures, and borrowed guitar riffs. Their 2012
album, The Electric Age
, peaked at #77 on the Billboard 200 chart. It was hyped up with supercharged energy, along with a few lesser stimulated tracks in the mix. This current release, White Devil Armory
, peaked at #31 on the Billboard 200 chart. Which is the highest US chart position that they've reached thus far. So will this newer album break through with some awesome thrash innovations? Or will this just sound like generic compositions of recycled metal?
Bobby Blitz is now fifty five years of age and his voice is still holding up strong, after thirty four years of thrash service. He shouts and sings his lyrics with aggressive authority. The lyrics were vaguely written in New England
street slang and could fit into a few different contexts; such as fighting terrorists, militias fighting corrupt governments, and fighting substance abuse dependency. Armorist
thrashes forth with an interesting stutter rhythm. It's heavy and fast, but not too original or melodic. It basically sounds like the rehashing of the same old Overkill
material, as they have done in the course of over thirty years.
guitarists are featured and they've both been with the band for at least fourteen years. They usually thrash with rough and raw riff shifting, with plenty of distortion. They shred super fast with catchy guitar hooks and sometimes sound flashy with fiery guitar solos. Down
to the bone starts with a vicious thrash attack, using intricate guitar leads that seem to form a twisting sound effect. It crosses over to strong driving thrash riffs, with a bad ass melody. There is never a dull moment in this fast thrash anthem. The lyrics are about hanging tough, even until the bitter end.
The bassist plays mostly mid range notes, which thrashes fast with the two guitarists, and blends in well with them. He adds some impact to the explosive guitar riffs and sometimes seems like the negative shadow image to any flashy guitar leads. Where There's Smoke
breaks out with heavy start and stop chugs, that are played similarly to the old Metallica
classic, Fight Fire
. It's followed up with more intense riff shifting, which brings up the same mood of a dangerous emergency, reminiscent of Bloodletting
. The drums are pounded rapidly and are accompanied by emphatic bass lines. The lyrics are about fighting and killing people, in the streets of New England
The drummer is just as fast and aggressive as the rest of the performers. He demonstrates double bass drum blast beats, with simultaneous snare roll flare ups. There are also plenty of exhibitions of explosive drum pounding, with cymbal crashing, and slashing. King
of the Rat Bastards
starts off with a series of bad ass guitar hooks. Then it thrashes with choppy headbanging melodies, that are played fast. It has a real strong bass presence and rapid drumming with intricate beat patterns.
White Devil Armory
rings with an air of patriotism, which fares well with their gritty brand of thrash metal. They don't seem to deviate too much from their traditional style. But there were some new ideas involved. Some of the intricate guitar leads formed unusual thrash textures. As well as bad ass guitar hooks repeated excessively in a thrash metal overkill. There were only about four unoriginal sounding songs on the album. Two
of them sounded like some of their past structures. While one of them borrowed some Metallica
riffs and another had borrowed some Guns N' Roses
riffs. It's still a good headbanging album, but isn't too stylistically divergent from most of their catalog. But I don't think that they're entirely stuck in a creative rut.