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Homicide - Left for Dead

Homicide
Left for Dead
by Mark Machlay at 22 September 2020, 7:11 AM

After 25 years, thrash metal group HOMICIDE from Montreal, Canada have reformed to release their fittingly titled “Left For Dead”, their second album to date. Formed in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in the early 90s the band was gathered from other bands that had strong reputations in their own right. Guitarist and vocalist Gab Morency from CORRUPTED YOUTH and guitarist Brian Donahue from local thrash/death metal group DAMAGED began writing and formed the core of the group. Soon after, the rhythm section of crossover thrash metal band LIZARD became interested in what the pair were working on and bassist Greg Mclary and drummer Scotty MacCulloch came on board. In 1995 they would release “Malice and Forethought” specializing in old school crossover thrash with politically charged lyrics. The band would even gain notoriety locally touring with metal titans like VOIVOD, DEATH, MERCUFUL FATE, and ANVIL but ultimately went into hibernation, never releasing a follow-up until now.

They must have felt very strongly about the new material on “Left for Dead” because this style of music has been passed on for many years. Because of this, unfortunately they have a bit of an uphill climb since many of the old school thrashers are still putting out records, most being generally well accepted. They borrow heavily from the greats such as taki the anticipatory built-up intro of SLAYER’s “Angel of Death” and adding a few more chord punches on the opening track “Shot to Hell”. You don’t get Tom Araya’s infamous scream but Gab Morency is no slouch, delivering rapid-fire lyrics with a growl and menace with as much clarity of Araya but with more grit like a Lemmy Kilmister might add. It is old school thrash with plenty of influence from hardcore punk in the VENOM-tinged “Scorched Earth”. The riffs and transitions are herky-jerky, garage band inspired but the band is tight and I have to give it up for Scotty MacCulloch and Greg Mclary for holding down a firm foundation for the chaos. The leads are frenetic, wild, like an untamed lion. There are a few that take its time like the bluesy solo ending “Shot to Hell” and the improvisatory leads after a brief slowdown in “Enemy of the State”.

But for a group of guys that have been around for 25 years, you would expect a bit more polish despite the spirit of the garage band-ish nature of the genre. While never known for poetic lyrics, thrash is known for being ant-establishment and relatively simple – something they borrowed from neighbors, hardcore punk. But that simplicity doesn’t equate to laziness like the overuse of a rhyming phrase for almost every ending of a verse line. It’s incredibly limiting and it part of the reason I focus more on the music of thrash. While I loved many of the clean, bluesy, and blistering solos of Brian Donahue, when Morency tried for a solo run, they seemed sloppy and unpolished, relying heavily on tremolo picking and even not very punchy-sounding as if they were intentionally left lower in the mix. The riffs seemed recycled from more well-known thrash metal acts and relying on aggression and old lyrical standbys such as the apocalypse to bolster their aging creativity. Someone else said it better than me but if thrash is to survive it into the 2020s it needs innovators and if they can step up their game on their next release – given it isn’t another 25 year wait – they might have a chance at the national stage again.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Shot To Hell
2. Point Blank Range
3. Left For Dead
4. Enemy of the State
5. Nightmares of the Apocalypse
6. Scorched Earth
7. Scourge of God
Lineup:
Gab Morency – Vocals and Guitar
Brian Donahue – Guitar
Greg Mclary – Bass
Scotty MacCulloch – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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