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Badgered – Planet Absurdic

Badgered
Planet Absurdic
by Max Elias at 20 January 2021, 9:06 PM

Finland’s BADGERED clearly have a lot to thank the 80s for. The pull-off intro to “Barracuda’s Dance” is reminiscent of something you might hear from melodic THRASH METAL bands like HEATHEN or even Into the Pit-era TESTAMENT. The rest of the song is good thrash with tight galloping riffs and satisfying grit to the vocals—no reinventions of the style or especially evolved riffs, but well-executed. They have the edge of classic THRASH METAL replicated admirably on songs like “Bury Me” or “Ultimatum” with their single-minded palm-muted chugs and call-and-response vocals. The choruses on “Bury Me” are sung more melodically, which I don’t think the vocalist does as well as their more focused bark. I did appreciate the little harmonized lead riff near the end of the song though.

The songs here are well-written and the band takes care not to stay on a riff or idea so long that it becomes stale, which is a problem sometimes in THRASH METAL. Though the riffing is a little derivative, they can surprise occasionally. The slower, more ‘epic’ feeling breakdown of “Ultimatum” is a good example of this; it suddenly feels like you’re listening to more of a POWER METAL band, but one of the ones that fortunately knows to keep all the melodic power with the guitars. The band also shines in their lead work despite at times generic rhythm parts; they tend to privilege melody and overall development over highly technical playing. Both are great approaches, and it depends why you want people to listen to your music.

After a few songs, large portions of the album start feeling tired. The riffs are too blatantly inspired by past THRASH METAL acts and don’t stand out as more than imitations, and the slower tempo (slower than bands like, say, SUICIDAL ANGELS) makes their lackluster quality more grating, as the band can’t rely on the adrenaline of headbanging furiously to supplant the actual music. There are strong parts within a lot of these songs, but they are abandoned faster than I would like; like the brief energy boost of “Lost Words”, before the disappointing power ballad character returns. One song I genuinely enjoyed all the way through is “Break Down and Bleed”, with a good mix of driving pedal tones, chugging, and chord riffs complementing the equally urgent vocals. And even here, on one of the more aggressive and streamlined cuts from the album, they fit in a guitar solo.

I think BADGERED is closer to more melodically inclined thrashers like HEATHEN than they are the more sledgehammering side of THRASH METAL, and they do write good melodies, like the intro of “The Holy Bubble”. The problem is that melodic thrash has to have these parts running through the song constantly, because the riffs tend to be less exciting and feel inadequate on their own. The end of “The Holy Bubble” is an example of doing this right; a similar melody to the intro alternates with the vocals to complete the soundscape.

This is the first effort from BADGERED and a lot was done well; as I mentioned, the songwriting is tight and the melodies are well-written. The drums and bass also hold it down excellently. But a lot of the music also seems bland and indistinct. Everyone is influenced by the Big 4 of thrash, but those songs and riffs have already been written. I think BADGERED has a good enough grasp on THRASH METAL and are good enough musicians that they can make themselves more unique and still fit within their genre on the next album.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Musicianship: 8
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Barracuda’s Dance
  2. Bury Me
  3. Ultimatum
  4. Future Oncoming
  5. Dive
  6. Lost Words
  7. Disorder
  8. Break Down and Bleed
  9. The Holy Bubble
  10. Regime of Crimson
Lineup:
Lauri Johannes Postma – Drums
Vesa Turunen – Guitars
Petja Turunen – Vocals, Guitars
Miika Ala-Hiiro – Bass
Record Label: Inverse Records
     


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