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Reactory - High On Radiation

High On Radiation
by Andrew Sifari at 29 April 2014, 12:41 PM

Many of you are probably aware of this by now, but Thrash Metal absolutely refuses to die, as evidenced by the genre’s mid/late-2000s resurgence headed by such powerhouse bands as HAVOK, EVILE, and WARBRINGER. There are a good number of success stories, as the aforementioned bands, as well as a handful of others, have contributed some of the most ass-kicking, pit-starting music in Metal during the last decade. However, there are just as many worthwhile bands as there are straight-up clones of early-period EXODUS (except not as good). REACTORY, a group from Berlin, Germany, fall closer to the former with their strong debut LP “High On Radiation”.

On the first track, the aptly-named “Shell Shock”, REACTORY immediately let the listener know they mean business, with the song’s machine-gun guitars and pummeling drums setting the tone for the album as a whole with this fairly catchy offering. Stylistically, a good musical comparison would be the late 80s band EVILDEAD, who played a similar brand of brutal, technically skillful thrash informed equally by hardcore punk, as evidenced by the album’s breakneck pace and shouted vocals. While nobody is ever going to confuse Hänz Hazard with, say, Joey Belladonna, his unapologetic, pissed-off delivery is key to the band’s hyper-aggressive sound, as are Jerry Reactor’s ripping guitar riffs.

To be fair, one thing I’ll say about “High On Radiation” is that the band, while showing impressive instrumental chops on each of the album’s nine tracks, doesn’t really show a whole lot of range as far as differently paced songs. This is to say nothing negative about impressive, competent thrashers like “Kingdom of Sin”, “Orbit of Theia”, and “Blasphemous Attitude” but the primarily rapid-fire pace of every song can get repetitive after a few listens. While it’s a hell of a comparison to make, even just one song in the vein of such classics as “People of the Lie” (KREATOR), or “And Then There Were None”, would go far towards mixing things up and keeping the listener attentive the whole way through.

That is my only real complaint, though. Each song on “High On Radiation” is far from basic in composition, showing an impressive amount of polish for such a young group. The rhythm section is also particularly noteworthy, providing a solid rhythmic backbone while never missing a beat, a difficult task demanded by the speed of each song that the band nevertheless seems to accomplish without breaking a sweat. While the band falls a tad short in terms of variety, they make up for it with an absolute lack of filler or unnecessary elements such as misplaced acoustic guitars or drawn-out, spoken-word intro’s.

“High On Radiation” is one of the more satisfying offerings you’ll find if you’re looking for good, old-school-informed Thrash, especially for a debut album. While taking obvious cues from their inspirations, the band never sound overly derivative, and deliver a solid performance throughout. I would recommend this album highly to fans of the Thrash, Speed, and Crossover genres, though anyone who can appreciate fast, angry, uncompromising Metal, regardless of genre, would do well to check this one out.

4 Star Rating

1. Shell Shock
2. Spreading Brutality
3. Viral Overdrive
4. Kingdom of Sin
5. The Raid
6. Metal Invasion
7. ABC Warfare
8. Orbit of Theia
9. Blasphemous Attitude
Hänz Hazard - Vocals
Jerry Reactor - Guitar
Jonny Master - Bass
Caue Chaos – Drums
Record Label: Iron Shield Records


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