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Aftermath - No Time To Waste Award winner

No Time To Waste
by Andrew Harvey at 18 May 2023, 4:10 AM

So from the city of Chicago, Illinois (USA) we have a team of four musicians who came together in the year of 1985 and the lineup was led by KYRIAKOS TSIOLIS on vocals, accompanied by guitarist STEVE SACCO together with their original bassist ADAM and drummer RAY SCHMIDT as they were known by the name of AFTERMATH. They began their journey on the release of two demos in 1986, DEMO #1 and 1987 KILLING THE FUTURE, as they made their way as a style between progressive and thrash metal. However this can be best described as “a mind-blowing speed and technical brand of thrash that soon set them apart from the pack and in the process made them a pioneering crossover thrash band”. By the year of 1989, their bassist had been changed as they came to releasing two more demos in 1989 and 1990.

WORDS THAT ECHO FEAR was officially released in 1989 and featured four tracks altogether, whereas the second demo had four tracks also titled ROADRUNNER DEMO because Roadracer, a branch label under the Roadrunner label offered them a demo deal. However this didn’t work out so they signed to another label but it wasn’t until 1994 that their long awaited debut album would come to the spotlight titled EYES OF TOMORROW. The album contained eleven tracks and was a big hit receiving a lot of positive reviews and was also recognized as a big contribution to the genre of thrash and progressive metal. A demo was released two years after in 1996 but then the band would not be seen again til 2014.

They began playing live again in 2015 and they had announced their reunion officially. The year of 2016 was marked as the band’s 30th anniversary with the reissue of their 1986 demo and then came their what was the first album after a long twenty five year gap, but in 2019 officially their second studio album titled THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG. No doubt a clear message asking questions as to what is wrong in today’s society and now four years later they have released another album making it their third album now in thirty five years at least since their formation. NO TIME TO WASTE is now out in the year of 2023, amazing how time has flown by and of course music has changed so much since then.

The album begins with its title track “No Time To Waste” as we hear bombarding clashes of drums, guitars and vocals also making their first entrance with some words at first then the full band unison is set off on a clear pathway with shredding guitars as well as speedy drum patterns. The thrash injection is clear in the guitars and even when vocals take a breather, the guitars and drums become more creative and soloistic giving a clear cut of progressive rock/metal as the track leads us into the next track “Original Instructions”. A guitar reverbs growing closer and closer then moving from side to side as we hear vocals speaking, guitar swoops in for the killer blow and drums come back into the fore. The vocals have the upper hand with authority and determination, as guitars and drums engage in some bass heavy thrash phases of playing.

Electric guitar has its time to expand its horizons and lay down the law as drums and bass follow suit to their lead, as vocals return again with accents we heard before marked by drums.“Transform & Disrupt” is up next with a more hard hitting drum pattern after bass guitar introduces this track, before vocals speak of attracting the attention of their target audience of listeners. There is certainly more a progressive element and touch of class here, before vocals bow out after a few belter screams, then wild wickedness of guitars and drums are on a solo mission of their own. Then we head straight into the next track which is “Up Is Down” with a short dialogue between two speakers, then a gradual rhythm of words from the vocalist with guitars and drums.

Vocal harmonies are also heard for the first time, with a full band sound as we revert back to the more calming sounds of guitars echoing as vocal speaks in rhymes again. The tempo is not fast but then it changes with drums making the transition, but only for a short time, then electric guitar shows its true self, reaching the higher notation with vibrato. Aside from this, the drums and vocals combine for a dual partnership with guitars also featuring, vocals whisper words leading into the next track which is  “Slaveable (We’re Not Your Animals)”. There in the midst of a female speaker singing so sweetly, as the guitar creates a slow crescendo with such excellence and grit. The female speaker fades away by this stage, then guitar takes the lead as lead male vocals come back to grind their teeth.

There is somewhat of a classic rock or glam element to this track as it has that guitar sound of the 90’s era, with drums filling in the space with sustained hits, but lead vocals tear through the next section with strength and power. Electric guitar has its time to solo once more over drums and bass guitar into hyperdrive mode before cymbal hits kick in also, then several clatter of cymbals leads to the vocals bringing back the sustained notation from before. There is still refusal of vocals backing down as they deliver the message in the track and theme is very well portrayed as it has done so. “We Can Do This Together” comes as vocals snort in the previous track then the female narrator says its final words, before drums pulsate on a tight faster fill as vocals refer to the track title in the lyrics.

Thrash metal is so evident here and we can hear such a classy and fun attitude in this track as we hear the thumps of drums, as we hear a clear message of bringing everyone together to conquer the world. Vocals enjoy a solo section with guitar coming into the fore also, but then back to business for drums to give guitar the edge to let it rip off the solo work it produces with vibrato and harmonic riffs. The band are much together on this track and such a good track with the guitars and vocals delivering the statement this track is giving. “Echo Chamber” builds slowly with a crescendo of drums at first then guitars come right on time to introduce the vocals into the frame. We also hear backing vocals coming into play as this provides the atmosphere and pretty awesome sound this band is so good at, with guitar vibrato and fabulous solo work also, drums seem to contribute so much too.

Another drum warm up as guitars ring out, then the full band unison brings us closer to the next track which is “Strawman In The House Of Cards”. There is a minute or so of a montage of spoken word and dialogue, then electric guitar comes to the fore with vocals also but only the two so far with cymbals building themselves up, a slow rock ‘n’ roll pattern is in with a sort of swing or blues rock feel. This is a good opportunity for each instrument to give more clarity and focus, as we hear each one individually, even backing vocals adds so much edge and pure juice to this track, close to the end, is another time for spoken word as we go into the next track. “We Don’t Want A Riot” has a hint of the previous track at first, subtle spoken word, then guitars kicks off the full band unison, a more progressive approach here in this track.

This is certainly more prominent later on halfway through the track, as there is guitar harmonics, quiet drum patterns and vocals whispering as well. Cymbals also play a part in all of this, guitar does bring back the thrash elements then into the final track we go which is “Give Peace A Chance” as this is such a tremendous cover of the song originally written by JOHN LENNON himself. The drums play the lead narrative here with vocals becoming more angelic or higher in pitch, but still have the low end grit of the teeth. This track has so much positivity and creative flow in the tempo it is so nicely arranged with the lyrical content speaking of peace and prosperity as the theme of this grand finale of the album. It is a short track but it deserves all the credit for being the track to give the album a nice conclusion, I certainly enjoyed this album greatly. No doubt a true band full of ambitions and giving their listeners what they want so I can say I am a big fan now. Well done to the band and keep rocking as always, a fantastic album for sure.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. No Time To Waste
2. Original Instructions
3. Transform & Disrupt
4. Up Is Down
5. Slaveable (We’re Not Your Animals)
6. We Can Do This Together
7. Echo Chamber
8. Strawman In The House Of Cards
9. We Don’t Want A Riot
10. Give Peace A Chance
Kyriakos “Charlie” Tsiolis - Vocals
Steve Sacco - Guitars
George Nektarios Lagis - Bass Guitar
Ray Schmidt - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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