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Pandemic Outbreak – Skulls Beneath The Cross

Pandemic Outbreak
Skulls Beneath The Cross
by Thomas Kumke at 18 October 2021, 10:44 PM

PANDEMIC OUTBREAK hailing from Gdansk, Poland were formed in 2014. They started as Thrash and Speed Metal band but went towards Thrash and Death Metal in more recent times. So far, they released two EPs and “Skulls Beneath The Cross” is their debut full-length album. The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Polish Studio 147. “Skulls Beneath The Cross” was released by Chinese label Awakening Records which has a number of Thrash, Death, and Power Metal bands among their roster. It has a length of almost 44 minutes.

Seven years after their formation, PANDEMIC OUTBREAK eventually release their debut full-length album. The time in between was a period of changes in personnel, direction, and a restart in 2019. The result is “Skulls Beneath The Cross” which is a mix between US inspired Death Metal and European inspired traditional Thrash Metal with more weight towards the latter. After a short intro, the Thrash/Death attack starts with “Along The Stream” and this one gives the direction of the album: aggressive and razor-sharp guitar riffing, highly paced rhythm, hammering drums including some blast-beat sections, growling vocals at the lower end of the guttural range, and lead guitars that are Thrash Metal inspired. “Along The Stream” includes a mid-tempo break that is driven by the double-bass drums and the harmonic lead guitars. “Personification Of Evil” is in principle a continuation of the preceding track with a bit more gloom and viciousness in sound.

Rise Of The Damned” is probably one of the highlights for all classical Thrash Metal fans, it has all the best elements of the sound from the 80ies Thrash Metal era: the catchy guitar riffing, the fast, but not too fast rhythm, the lead guitar melodies, and the anger. While the songs of the first part on the album were all short and straight to the point, the songs of the second part are all distinctly longer, they have added complexity in structures, and more comprehensive breaks as for example “Infected Identity”. “…In The Name Of God” is the first mid-tempo track. Starting with slow and epic guitar parts, it transitions into a stomping rhythm dominated by the double-bass and the lead guitar sequence before it fully comes to life with some great Thrash Metal riffs. The middle break for the lead guitar solo certainly has a lot of KREATOR vibes. “Obliterated Past” is another one of those Thrash Metal bangers on the album and this one has got everything, one can wish for: the aggression, the anger, the dark riffing, the changes in rhythm, crunching bass lines, and an excellent lead guitar solo that perfectly fits into the mood of the track.

While “Ritual Annihilation” may be the weakest track on the album, the album closes out really strongly: both the title song and “Into The Realm Of Madness” are two highlights of the album: catchy guitar riffs, pace, aggression, a hammering almost percussive bass, and lead guitars melodies that are second to none. “Skulls Beneath The Cross” is the official video release from the album and the YouTube link is given below.

PANDEMIC OUTBREAK deliver a very good debut album. “Skulls Beneath The Cross” is a symbiosis of Death and Thrash Metal where the classical Thrash Metal sound is the dominant part in most songs. The band finds the right mix very smartly and this makes the album sounding fresh, dynamic, and diverse. Although PANDEMIC OUTBREAK do not re-invent the wheel, the tracks are no stereotypes and they do have their own character which stands for good songwriting. The album is well produced. Fans of Thrash and Death Metal will dig this album and can look forward to watch PANDEMIC OUTBREAK playing their new material live.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro – Pandemic Protocol
2. Along The Stream
3. Personification Of Evil
4. Rise Of The Damned
5. Infected Identity
6. …In The Name Of God
7. Human Trophy
8. Obliterated Past
9. Ritual Annihilation
10. Skulls Beneath The Cross
11. Into The Realm Of Madness
Lineup:
Menzel – Vocals, Guitars
Pawel Snarski – Guitars
Szymon Wojcik – Drums
Kotwa – Bass
Record Label: Awakening Records
     


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