Meshiaak - Alliance of Thieves (Mascot Records)

Meshiaak deliver a masterful thrash album that seethes with passion.
Release Date: 
19 Aug 2016 (All day)

If you have not yet checked out Meshiaak’s long-awaited debut Alliance of Thieves, then get onto it. Though technically this is a debut album, Meshiaak’s lineup contains some familiar names: Danny Camilleri, formerly of 4Arm, Dean Wells of Teramaze, Nick Walker of Australian prog-death band Bane of Bedlam and Jon Dette who has played drums with Testament, Slayer, Anthrax and Iced Earth. Although so much music-industry mileage has come to the table for Meshiaak, the synergies evident on Alliance of Thieves show that this album is even greater than the sum of its parts. Alliance of Thieves launched recently with stellar reviews and I must add that I completely concur. This album has all the makings of a classic thrash metal release and then some.

Alliance of Thieves more than satisfies traditional trash metal criteria for aggressive riffs and blistering solos. Speed, power and technicality are announced immediately as Chronicles of the Dead opens the album with unforgiving intensity, along with archetype thrash tracks like Maniacal that exemplify Dette’s unrelenting energy and the title track Alliance of Thieves. Camilleri’s vocal power and Wells’ racing solos drive the brilliantly balanced track Last Breath Taken. With its memorable, slightly eerie, echoing chorus, Last Breath Taken is a dark battle cry that brings depth to the timeless ‘brothers-in-arms’ thrash metal theme and for me is one of the standout tracks on Alliance of Thieves.

There are tracks on Alliance of Thieves that explore the complexities of the thematic content and showcase the diverse influences and experiences of Meshiaak’s members. Case in point on this is It Burns At Both Ends, an intriguing song that juxtaposes Camilleri’s hallmark antiauthoritarianism and political critique with Wells’ enchanting mystical melodies, then the whole song hedonistically spirals into a raw snarl of the principal lyric ‘hide yourself in the cracks of authority’. The confrontation in this song between real-world rebellion and hypnotic fantasy-scape delivers its message on so many levels, that I keep returning to this track out of sheer curiosity.

At no point in Alliance of Thieves is there a weak moment. Though the moniker ‘supergroup’ has been thrown around, there is nothing arrogant or overdone about Alliance of Thieves. Compositionally, every song on this album is watertight and every track is afforded its just measure. Though clocking back to mid-tempo, I Am Among You exemplifies this as it waxes and wanes perfectly between anger and pain, and Wells provides one of the most controlled and emotive solos I have ever heard on a thrash album.

Alliance of Thieves retains the focus on aggression, technicality and speed typical of thrash metal but lyrically there is a lot of humility woven into Camilleri’s trademark rage-seething vocals. Between cascading, frenetic soloing on Fading Drowning Falling raw vocal delivery, some of the angriest on Alliance of Thieves; scathe in what appears to be a very candid catharsis for Camilleri. Meshiaak demonstrate their versatility in tracks such as heavy-yet-tear-jerking At The Edge Of The World and the concluding melancholic track Death Of An Anthem that opens with acoustic classical guitar and resonant clean vocals, to swell into a seething cry for hope, and a chant-like mantra of bleak solidarity. The passion in every moment of Alliance of Thieves is consuming and manifests as profoundly in the heavier, faster tracks as it does in the moodier, darker ones.

Truly, the emotional complexity behind the lyrical content on Alliance of Thieves has been captured on the album. The anger, the pain, the turmoil and sadness seep through in a captivating vocal performance by Camilleri, who without a doubt is one of modern thrash metal’s most sincere frontmen. Whatever comes next for Meshiaak, Alliance of Thieves is a masterful offering from four incredible, passionate metal musicians who have collaborated to create an astounding thrash metal volume. Don’t miss out, Alliance of Thieves is out now and will likely become a classic....

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