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Relentless Aggression – A Shadow of All Things Broken

Relentless Aggression
A Shadow of All Things Broken
by Max Elias at 21 February 2021, 3:59 PM

The punk aura of so many of the riffs on A Shadow of All Things Broken and the slamming repetition of the percussion—as well as the impassioned wails of the vocalist—point to a band indebted to the rich tradition of Crossover Thrash Metal bands. From the beginning, RELENTLESS AGGRESSION channel the righteous, socially conscious fury of vintage punk on “Epitome of Resentment”, buoyed by pummeling hardcore grooves. They fuse the simplicity and raw rage with a keen ear for a good riff, as all great Thrash Metal has. The main riff of “My Wrath Prevails” demonstrates this and is surprisingly melodic, making good use of the guitar’s higher registers. The song churns along at a midtempo march and its strident drumming and tense breakdown practically beg to be played live.

I’m not so fond of the ‘spoken’ style of delivering verses, but once you get past that, “The Art of Self Destruction” is another wrecking ball of fury and spite that heats up especially after the tempo shift in the last minute that turns it from a march to a reckless charge. That charging power is continued on “Time to Die”, which with its frenetic razor-wire riffing and gang-chanted chorus of ‘time to die’, drips with intensity and stage presence, especially during the brief but ripping shred that reminds me of a much cleaner SLAYER.

At its best the album draws on the dynamism and unpretentiousness of Crossover Thrash Metal to deliver a punishing, hammering, and exciting sonic assault, such as on “Time to Die” or “End of Religion”—one of the most fun moments of the album was noticing the band quoting “Hallowed Be Thy Name” on the latter song. At worst, the band leans too heavily on genre tropes and comes off sounding generic—which is not so bad, as unoriginal does not by itself mean bad—and forgettable—which is the real crime. “Flawed” is an example of a song that if you heard it, you would assume the band ran out of ideas and stuck it one the end of the album to fill time. The riffs are bland and too derivative, without much of a spark to them. Also, there are precious few of them, which results in 4 minutes of music that feels unpleasantly longer than that.

Those songs and moments are fortunately pretty heavily outnumbered, and the album finishes strongly. The call and response of the vocals and riff in “Living, Lying Dying” is vibrant and energetic, and the galloping thrashier riffs pop out well. Somewhat out of character for the band, the final song “Miscreation” opens with a clean arpeggio line and for the first couple verses is a typical metal ballad type of track. Around halfway through, the intensity picks up and the chugging riffs have a little more hardcore swagger injected into them. The end of the song and the album is plaintive, pleading, and mournful as the vocalist cries out ‘deal with me!’ amidst the spacious, convalescent orchestral fade out. RELENTLESS AGGRESSION may not have put too individual of a stamp on the genre, but they make good hardcore-influenced Thrash Metal and balance the two well in their crossover.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Epitome of Resentment
2. My Wrath Prevails
3. The Art of Self Destruction
4. Time to Die
5. Flawed
6. From Beyond
7. End of Religion
8. Scorched Earth
9. Living, Lying, Dying
10. Miscreation
Lineup:
Iver Sandøy – Drums
Finn Solemdal – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Yngve Elde – Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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