Onslaught - VI (AFM Records)

Six is the magic number - hopefully...
Release Date: 
23 Sep 2013 - 11:30pm

Impossible though it may seem, heavy metal’s unruly son, thrash, turned thirty this year. And whilst the genre’s ‘big four’ (that’s Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth if you’re new to all this) have largely – with one or two very honourable exceptions - been content to trade on former glories for the second half of that period, there are a lot of very big noises being made in the second and third tiers of the thrash hierarchy. 

One of the scene’s most vibrant ‘lesser known’ contributors are Brits Onslaught, who returned to the fray (don’t they all) after an extended hiatus in 2005 and are now presenting us with the third album of their second wind, and sixth in all, hence the title. And whilst in their early days it was easy (ridiculously easy, at times) to write the band off as a Brit-lite version of, by turns, Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica, with maturity has come the location of the band’s own voice – and a very strident one it is too. 

Sure, there’s still an awful lot of Slayer on offer here, particularly in the chunky riffage of longstanding axepert Nige Rockett and his sidekick Andy Rosser-Davies; however if you stand this up against the last couple of albums delivered by Tom Araya and co. it’s the pupils who now sound like the masters. Tracks such as Slaughterize, Dead Man Walking and the hilariously heavy 66fuckin’6 are prime slices of modern thrash, positively dripping hatred and spite from every festering pore, allowing the band to join the likes of Testament, Overkill, Exodus and Kreator as old warhorses coming good again at the vanguard of the thrash movement– age certainly doesn’t seem to be wearying these boys, that’s for sure. Vocalist Sy Keeler has sensibly dropped from the stratosphere range-wise to deliver a bileful growl which fits the mood of the music completely, leaving the Araya comparisons in the dust and leaving the band sounding in as good form as they ever have since recording their landmark release The Force in 1986.

Hopefully VI will receive the worldwide acclaim it deserves, thus allowing this excellent band to take up its rightful place in the Pantheon of thrash greats – but I guess some of that is up to you guys – buy or die!