4ARM’s third album is a damn fine thing. It is what it is, nothing more, nothing less, and while there are no huge surprises it is still an album for all occasions. It opens with Sinn Macht Frei, a gentle piano based number with some noble spoken word about loving one another. It’s not long but gets you into a state of anticipation for the thrashy madness to come. It’s duly delivered in the form of While I Lay Awake; fat chords and sharp crispy guitars introduce us to the speeding punchy drums, and it’s all vehement vocals and chunky thrash goodness. There’s a gentle mid-section with an acoustic guitar under the solo and then it all builds back up to the fast shit again before finishing. A fine start, indeed.
Next is Raise A Fist with some more pounding riffage and some excellent drum work courtesy of Michael Vafiotis. I’m reminded of old Slayer/Metallica. Submission for Liberty offers us more relentless guitars from Danny Tomb (also doing double duty on vocals) and Johnny Glovasa - again accentuated by some excellent drums - but Andy Hinterreiter’s bass just isn’t high enough in the mix for my liking. The solos are a blur of notes – the howl of the thrash metal guitar and it’s easy to give yourself over to the music. Is it old skool? Retro-thrash? Who knows but I like it. I’ve never seen 4ARM live but I think, given the tastiness of the tracks on Submission, they’d be pretty fucking excellent live. *Note to self – See 4ARM in concert*
Luckily the bass gets a look in on The Oppressed, another solid thrashy number. The easiest way to sum up this album is ‘It does what it says on the can’ – it’s thrash, pure, uncomplicated Aussie thrash.
4ARM have done a top job here, and while the songs are not overly technical, they’ve got a level of integrity and honesty about them. They’re just good, solid songs to bang your head and/or chuck yourself about to. Other tracks like I Will Not Bow and Taken Down (with obligatory mellow acoustic/electric intro) are fine works that highlight 4ARM’s song writing ability, and you can see how 4ARM have evolved musically since their debut 13 Scars. The remaining tracks My Father’s Eyes, The Warning and Blood Of Martyrs are equally fine compositions and any thrash fan should get a copy of this for their library.