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Injector – Hunt of the Rawhead Award winner

Injector
Hunt of the Rawhead
by Max Elias at 14 January 2021, 12:57 AM

I’ve been listening to INJECTOR for a while now; enough to have gotten impatient about waiting for a new record. And now it’s here! I am happy to say that Hunt of the Rawhead lives up to the reputation these Spanish thrash masters have built for themselves as purveyors of technically inclined, strongly melodic but razor-sharp metal. The galvanizing first moments of “March to Kill” are enough to prove that. The riffs are strident and though not as fast as other thrash, still carry quite a weight to them, and the lead breaks and interludes that pepper the song elevate rather than distract from the work as a whole. Not only the instrumentation but the vocals are also something to be elated about, as they are right in the sweet spot between clarity and ferocity.

I can’t stop myself from headbanging to the opening riff of “Unborn Legions”, before the tempo increases. It’s pretty simple, but hits like a hammer—probably because the production is excellent and allows for every note of every riff to shine through crisply. The body of the song, which is demonstrably faster, is amazing as well. The band has a perfect handle on writing fresh modern thrash, but also is able to take influence from elsewhere; there is a droning power-chord (or some other thee note interval) riff that does not scream ‘THRASH METAL’ to me and sounds more modern, but works nonetheless.

It’s not just guitars or vocals that make this album great; the intro to “Into The Black” is entirely bass-driven, and the middling tempo that the song is kept at allows the drum work to take a more obviously dominant position. And going back to their penchant for melody, the choruses on “Into The Black” are sung over a serene bell-like theme that injects (pun definitely intended) an air of grandiosity into the heavy backdrop. INJECTOR’s sense of melody shows up in faster songs as well, as in the pedal tones on “Dreadnought Race”.

Most of the songs here clock in around 4 or 5 minutes long, which is reasonable for melodic and not always hyper-fast THRASH METAL. The longest song on the album is “Rhythm Of War”, which is nearly 8 minutes long. Though that’s double the average, there’s not a second of it that feels like it drags or was written just to fill space. The intro riffing is melodic enough to immediately grab the listener’s attention, segueing into a massive-sounding conglomerate of all the band members’ talents. And of course, like all ‘ballads’ (never an acoustic moment, but it’s as close as they’ll get), there is a crescendo in the form of the guitar solo. The lead work is measured and meticulous, sticking to the blueprint of a quickly established twin guitar line, but spicing it up from time to time.

It seems like the less frenetic songs outnumber the fully bombastic ones, as “Arcane Soul” is also slower-paced in terms of tempo, though the riffs are engaging. The lead guitar that kicks in at around the 2:11 mark is serene, ethereal, and gloriously embraces shred to impressive effect. There are jumps in tempo occasionally, but they don’t feel too much heavier than the slower sections, thanks to the variety of rhythms thrown into the riffing.

INJECTOR have always included an instrumental every time they release something, and it’s always amazing. This time is no exception, and it comes in the form of the spacy, at first aggressive and later cerebral “Interstellar Minds”. Oh boy do those opening techy guitar lines spark something in me. Mostly it’s a desire to go practice. They melt away within a minute into calm, tranquil clean guitar arpeggiation, which is supplanted by a fiery melody from the lead guitars. The riffs return towards the end, and I for one wish INJECTOR had explored these kinds of riffs a little more just because they reminded me in the intro of VEKTOR, who are perhaps the most interesting newer THRASH METAL band.

Hunt of the Rawhead ends with the no-holds-barred attack of “Boundbreaker”, the highlight of which is the fleet-fingered pull off-laden main riff, which sounds like something I may have heard before but is also so cool I don’t really care. “Boundbreaker” tapers off into an acoustic outro which I think would have been better placed earlier in the song, so they could close the album with pure thrashing ecstasy. But with the focus on melodic riffing as opposed to face-pounding aggression elsewhere on the album it does make sense. All in all, this is a near-perfect album I will listen to consistently for about a year and a half while I wait for the next one.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. March to Kill
  2. Unborn Legions
  3. Into the Black
  4. Dreadnought Race
  5. Rhythm of War
  6. Arcane Soul
  7. Feed the Monster
  8. Interstellar Minds
  9. Boundbreaker
Lineup:
Dani MVN – vocals, guitars
J.A. Ayala – bass
Dany B – guitars
Alberto Dannaya – drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records
     


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Edited 24 September 2021
 

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