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Trapped in Purgatory – Damned Nation Award winner

Trapped in Purgatory
Damned Nation
by Leanne Evans at 24 March 2021, 1:15 PM

TRAPPED IN PURGATORY… a lifeless object, alive… awaiting reprisal… we all know how the classic “Raining Blood” goes by the inimitable SLAYER. British badass thrash outfit TRAPPED IN PURGATORY pull influence from the original bad boys of thrash, cementing possibly the most famously enjoyed lyrics of all time in a band name. And why the hell not? TRAPPED IN PURGATORY isn’t new to the scene, in fact, three-fifths of UK thrash originals PURGATORY make up the band, whilst members of the rhythm section hail from metal outfits FOURWAYKILL and MERCURY RAIN.   In their own words, TRAPPED IN PURGATORY were “Baptised in blood, born of necessity; this is not a reformation, this is a rebirth”. But don’t be fooled, these guys are veterans to the scene and know EXACTLY how to penetrate your thrash-core. The five-piece outfit are here with their uncompromising and unyielding debut marvel “Damned Nation”, to serve up nothing short of seismic punk-tinged thrash to slower, groove-laden cuts and cleverly atmospheric twists. Enter to the realm of Satan where TRAPPED IN PURGATORY were created to spew their addictively heavy stylistic and thrill with old-school metal sincerity, with a few ingenious twists along the way…

Kicking off, “Prelude to War” is an acoustic instrumental that creates a calm-before-the-storm feel with deceptive mellowness and seamlessly sets the scene of the darkness for “Hung out to Die”, a nod towards SLAYER’s “Angel of Death” structure and sonics of “Expendable Youth”. There’s a mesh of battle sounds that layer, wails, screams and Chris bounds in with his mechanical war-machine sounding vocals, flays of addictive riffs ensue and unrelenting drumming are released straight from the pits of hell. The noticeable heavy bassline from Jon brings bloody glory to this track and Marc’s epic double-bass drumming are cock-on.

Moving on, “Spit it Out” is very much about the lead guitar work, courtesy of Andy, but again, the whole collective work magnificently. This track showcases TRAPPED IN PURGATORY’s melodic side brilliantly, yet still retains the addictively heavy stylistic to perfection. The same can be said for “Demonicide” – previously released as a single - where Chris’ vocals morph to a more abrasive raw tone bringing an overall demonic feel and deliberate hostility. With the formula of faultless downpicking, relentless stamina in the drumming and pure speed, this track is definitely one of many of the album’s highlights.

The bloody bludgeoning perpetuates with “Patient Zero” pounding straight into boundless affliction of driving drums, ceaseless riffing and great grooves along with an infectious chorus… “patient zero, the unsung hero” and guitar solo work that absolutely NAILS IT. This track screams everything that is sodomised by sound with brutal aural affliction, even down to spitting out passionate punk-esque lyrics from the heart. Another pure bit of brilliance from TRAPPED IN PURGATORY.

Title-track “Damned Nation” dials everything down in the intro and brings some muddied murkiness and dissonant chords with the collective guitar effort, lulling you into a false sense of security. Everything about the track shouts warmongering dictatorial gaslighting hypocrisy – check out the stellar artwork on the album cover as you listen to this - Chris’s vocals sound immense with the dissonant touch and the tempo change later in the track is a clever bit of work to instil the fear of the lyrics. The rhythm section picks up speed perfectly later on in “Damned Nation”, making way for “Apex Predator”, which is a full-frontal in your face aggressive thrash demon, with some great touches from TRAPPED IN PURGATORY, notably the tempo change from mid-paced to raging high-octane, pretty bloody impactful.

Thus far, TRAPPED IN PURGATORY have taken us on twists and turns throughout “Damned Nation” and “Beyond the Rubicon” is no exception, possibly the most intriguing piece on the album and showcases the band’s ability to push their musical parameters further. The guest vocals by Theresa Smith of prog metal band METAPRISM is a great touch, giving a distinctly different vibe. The album nears to a close with the penultimate track “Out of the Fire (Into the Pit)”, which picks up that break-neck speed TRAPPED IN PURGATORY is SO masterful at once again and comes with a great guttural beginning, a raging assault of riffs, incessant drumming and deep growls, literally creating the atmosphere of maiming ourselves in the pit (please, 2021, let this happen SOON!!) Wrapping up nicely, the finale “Ashen Tide” is top bit of instrumental magnificence and makes way for the epic guitar work we’ve savoured throughout the album to pull through in all its glory.

TRAPPED IN PURGATORY is mostly definitely a band to keep an eye on. They wouldn’t be out of place at the likes of Download (yes, a big statement, but these guys have BIG balls!) The band master the structural sonic intrigue of SLAYER, TESTAMENT and EXODUS, and perfect the speed of OVERKILL and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES to boot, whilst putting their stamp on their sound. “Damned Nation” serves up nothing short of 10 well-thought-out tracks, with every bit of thrash formula you could hope for, with a few of their own touches, leading to a unique and exciting composition. Vocally, Chris has mastered the ability to serve up fitting mechanical hostility in his tone in all the right places, but equally as akin to MILLE PETROZZA of KREATOR with that guttural certitude that spits out lyrics like pure bullets and rolls over you like a chunky Challenger tank.  TRAPPED IN PURGATORY release an onslaught of fast nastiness perfectly and serve up a huge set of belting thrash British bollocks. Nice one, guys!

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Prelude to War
2. Hung out to Die
3. Spit it out
4. Demonicide
5. Patient Zero
6. Damned Nation
7. Apex Predator
8. Beyond the Rubicon
9. Out of the Fire (Into the Pit)
10. Ashen Tide
Chris Neighbour – Vocals
Andy “Jock” Jamieson – Lead Guitars
Jason Coombs – Guitars
Jon Hoare – Bass
Marc Paling – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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