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ShreddeR - Tortured Souls Award winner

ShreddeR
Tortured Souls
by Max Elias at 08 June 2019, 11:23 PM

SHEREDDER lives true to that no-nonsense moniker, coming out with intent to kill right from the start. ‘Tortured Souls’ is a well-worn study in Possessed-style death/thrash, relentless and aggressive. The not-quite-growling that the vocals are doing amps up the pressure. About a minute and a half in, the song shifts into a tribal groove that rises in urgency before summoning the listener back into the world of crushing riffs and frantic double-bass. Then, after the solo, which is filled with impressive fretboard trickery, they do it again, maintaining the slower pace slightly longer this time.

The dissonant fade out that ends ‘Tortured Souls’ provides the respite needed before ‘Purgatory’ bursts forth with vicious thrashing madness to turn the listener’s eardrums into Jell-O. Yet despite the intense nature of the music, every note and riff is clearly distinguishable. Not so much for the vocals, but that’s the price you pay for death metal. The solo features plenty of classic thrash tremolos and scale runs, but is held together by a persistent melodic sensibility, and eerie harmonic minor sounds permeate, characteristic of the era’s lead style.

‘Enslavement’ pounds along slowly at first, in contrast to the previous offerings. But it doesn’t take long to explode in similar fashion, the tremolo-picked fury sending sonic death raining down on listeners. Particularly notable is that open-E pedal riff that reminds me of SUICIDE ANGELS’ first album, when they were slightly more aggressive. The song transitions into a clean section nicely around three minutes in, heralded by mournful lead guitars, which lasts a solid minute before harsh gallops that made me think of Battery for some reason help switch from clean to bombs-away lead work. It truly is bombs away, with arpeggios, legato runs, and briefly held bends flying out faster than you can notice them. After a few more riffs, ‘Enslavement’ ends as it began.

As soon as ‘King of Serpents’ comes on, my head is banging like it hasn’t yet on this album. The shortest song here, ‘King of Serpents’ understandably gets to the point straightaway, thrashing from start to finish and making good use of those pedal-tone Suicidal Angels-type riffs I love so much. Despite the shortened length, there is again time for a roaring solo replete with virtuosic energy. Although this is a nonstop thrasher, it has a groove to it the other songs didn’t somehow. The staccato-filled ending is a fitting way for the experience to come to a head.

‘Fields of Insanity’ is a good name for the album’s final track, with the call-and-response leads that enter around two minutes in, on top of all the other frantic instrumentation. A hypnotic melody (sort of like if Flash of the Blade were slower and eviler) kicks in at 3:12 and builds atmosphere for a while before launching into a longer uninterrupted solo. At this point the riffs underneath are midtempo, but that means nothing for the leads, which soars and flies around in wild arpeggiated runs. SHREDDER closes their album with the same frenetic intensity they’ve showcased throughout.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tortured Souls
2. Purgatory
3. Enslavement
4. King of Serpents
5. Fields of Insanity
Lineup:
Seth Dixon - Rhythm Guitar/Vocals
Jordan Fernand - Lead Guitar
Zac Halpin - Bass
Christian Christofides - Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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